Do more to stop bootlegging ... Fans, music industry demand greater action

February 08, 2018
Bootleg CDs and DVDs

The issue of bootlegging, how much the problem has grown and how much it is being ‘ignored’ by the authorities was a sore point for many who turned up at the first Reggae Open University discussion at the Edna Manley School of Visual and the Performing Arts last Thursday.
Concerned individuals raised the issue during a discussion on entrepreneurship in the music industry where they pointed out that entertainers are not benefiting from their work.

“Artistes are only seeing earnings from stage shows while people on the streets hustling are the ones benefiting from their music,” said one individual. “I see police on the streets and corporate people buying these CDs of these latest albums for $100. Do you know how much work an artiste puts into that album, how much money they spend on production for a man to hustle it for $100?”

Chair for the evening’s discussion, Don McDowell, pointed out that some time ago, the government of Jamaica claimed to have been the first in the Caribbean to set up a force to fight against piracy.

Continues to grow

He said that for the most part, that agency/force has seemingly been inactive as the number of bootleggers continues to grow.

McDowell also pointed out that if the issue is to be tackled in a way to bring about real results, all the parties involved have to play their part including entertainers.

“I have heard artistes on television say ‘low the man dem because dem a eat a food’ and I had to say to myself, this man is just playing a part in destroying his own future earnings,” he said. “Something needs to be done but it has to be from both sides (industry and government).”

Veteran producer Gussie Clarke, expressed that although artistes shouldn't encourage the practice, there isn’t much entertainers can do to stop piracy.

Clarke said the issue is a government one and therefore needs to be addressed by the relevant authorities. 

Collective unit

He called on the various Jamaican music organisations to form a body of their own to put fire on the tails of the government agencies designed to tackle the issue.

“We need to create a copyright compliance collective unit and try to lobby and pressure the government because if piracy continues, JACAP (Jamaica Association of Composers Authors and Publishers) Limited won’t be making any money, JAMMS (Jamaica Music Society) won’t be making any money. So they have to see to it that the rights of the creators are protected," he said.

THE STAR sought to find out from the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office and the police's Cyber Crimes Unit whether or not the team set up to fight piracy issues was still active however, up to press time, the team was unable to reach anyone from the above organisations.

In a 2014 article by the Jamaica Information Service, it was reported that approximately $2.7 million worth of illegally copied CDs and DVDs were destroyed in 2013. 


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