By Shereita Grizzle—
The Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers (JACAP) has revealed that it is still having a problem collecting royalties from several local radio stations and cable companies for their use of recorded works.
In an interview with THE WEEKEND STAR, Gussie Clarke, the director and head of the membership committee at JACAP, revealed that of the radio stations, media houses and cable companies in existence in Jamaica, the most compliant with the JACAP laws are the RJR Communications Group and Palace Amusement Company.
“JACAP collects monies for its members through licensing. So, if you are using recorded music commercially, you are supposed to obtain a license to play that music. It might be a party, a live show, it doesn’t matter,” he explained.
“When music is played on the radio, they have to pay for it. Most of the stations in Jamaica are non-compliant with laws surrounding copyright music. A lot of them are currently in court because they are not paying what they are supposed to pay by virtue of the nature of their businesses.”
Clarke said the poor compliance with local copyright laws is not only robbing local artistes of earnings they are entitled to, but it is also disrespectful to these persons and their creativity.
“What they are doing is robbing the creators of the same music weh dem a use to enhance and benefit themselves,” he said. “I am an industry practitioner for over 40 years and I understand many aspects of this business. I encourage everybody to simply respect the music. If you love it, just give what is due to those who are supposed to get it.”
Clarke added that artists and musicians are not the only people who depend on earnings from royalties.
“You have songwriters, the persons who create the beats, etc, and this is the only other way these people can make some money and make a living. And if JACAP don’t collect, we can’t pay,” he said.
The veteran producer also noted that JACAP is a non-profit organization, stressing that every penny collected is handed over to its members.
“Directors are not paid, they get a stipend. All JACAP is doing is acting on behalf of its members. All JACAP does is take out an administrative cost and the rest is distributed,” he said.