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Sophia Frazer-Binns-Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer
Senator Sophia Frazer-Binns-Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer—-

Calls for the restriction of foreign productions—-

By Daraine Luton—

LAWMAKER SOPHIA Frazer-Binns says Jamaica should put a limit on the amount of foreign music that is aired on local media as a key strategy to strengthening the country’s creative industries.

At the same time, Frazer-Binns wants the Government to consider the imposition of a levy on blank mediums such as CDs and DVDs, to aid in the fight against piracy.

The proposals, which were made in the Senate on Friday, the lawmaker argues, can go a far way towards helping drive the creative industry, which would have the effect of further contributing to economic growth on the island. The senator argues that the influx of foreign music is a major challenge to the creative industry.

Foreign Access Quota

“Local music is not always the first to be played … the fact is that some of our young artists struggle to have their music played, and if music isn’t played, there are no royalties, and if there is no royalty, there is no money,” Frazer-Binns told the Senate Friday.

Foreign Access Quota refers to the imposition of rules which limits the amount of foreign content which may be played on media such as radio and television. Such systems exist in Canada, Australia, China and Korea.

In Canada, for example, radio and television broadcasters are required to air a certain percentage of content that was at least partly written, produced, presented, or otherwise contributed to by persons from Canada.

Frazer-Binns said that, having had discussions with several key players in the music industry, she thinks it is quite appropriate for there to be a discussion on the issue.

According to Frazer-Binns, imposing quota restrictions on the airing of foreign music would create greater opportunities for local entertainers to get exposure.

Sophia Frazer-Binns addressing the Senate

Sophia Frazer-Binns addressing the Senate

Anti-payola laws

She, however, said foreign content quota has to be backed up with strong anti-payola laws, and having entertainers produce high-quality music.

“Even with content quota, if the lyrics are not air-friendly they will not be played,” Frazer-Binns said.

Further arguing that the creative industries can be the catalyst for developing a competitive export industry for Jamaica, the senator said all stakeholders, such as financial institutions, should rally around the sector to ensure it realises its potential. She posited the view that “the genesis of content quota was the result of the influence of the Jamaican music, and those countries of the day felt that if they did not protect their local music industry, then the Jamaican music would have taken over”.

levy on blank mediums

Meanwhile, Frazer-Binns, using the 450,000 bootleg CDs seized by the police in 2000, said a $50 levy on blank mediums would yield $22.5 million. She said that over $2 million worth of illegally copied DVDs and CDs were destroyed.

She proposed that the money be placed in a fund for the development of the creative industry while at the same time used as a means of assisting persons affected by piracy.



creative industries investment fund

According to Frazer-Binns, the creation of creative industries investment fund can also be supplemented by monies from the CHASE Fund, which represents the proceeds of gambling that will be used to strengthen the creative industry.

In addition to enabling capacity building for players in the sector, Frazer-Binns said proceeds from the levy on blank CDs and DVDs could be used to provide social benefits such as pensions for players in the industry, while a percentage could be set aside for the payment of royalties.

“I am not proposing that the fund should be implemented immediately. In fact, what I am proposing is that there be a full study, taking into consideration a cost benefit analysis as well as stakeholders consultation before the implementation,” Frazer-Binns added.



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