Learn how to secure your rights - Songwriters urged to get vital information
Members of the Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers (JACAP) are urging songwriters to secure their own legacies.
Dean McKellar and Gussie Clarke, board members of JACAP, say the information writers need to protect their intellectual property that can be accessed through JACAP.
Speaking with THE STAR in a recent interview, McKellar said that while the level of knowledge available to songwriters could be increased, the onus is on these creative minds to access the information that already exists to help them guard their work.
"I find that their (songwriters) knowledge of the mechanisms that protect their creative expression in terms of copyright is woefully inadequate, and I wish there was a concerted effort being made by these individuals to improve their level of music business education," he said. "Songwriters need to understand that they form the basis of this industry. They create the raw material for the industry, which is the song, all other parties add value to this and they must understand what this means and the prestige that comes with it. Once they do, they will realise that they need to educate themselves about their rights and then exercise these rights."
The issue of songwriters and how they are treated in the music industry has been a hot topic in the entertainment sphere over the past few weeks.
This, after a St Lucian songwriter claimed she had not been credited on a song she had written for Grammy-nominated singer, Jah Cure.
The issue has once again prompted key industry players to urge content creators to get the information they need to secure their rights as indicated by law.
"Copyright is a private right and therefore the onus is on the creator of the work to protect themselves. There are so many options available to help them secure their work, so if a songwriter believes he/she is being cheated out of their rights as creator, they have all the necessary paperwork they need to use as evidence in a court of law should things get that far," he said.
Clarke pointed out that societies such as the Jamaica Music Society and JACAP are set up to help content creators secure their work, but lamented that those who need the information do not readily seek such until it is too late.
"Our offices are always open and our members are also available to help anyone who comes to us seeking information. The problem is that the information is not being accessed by those who need it most. When we have seminars or workshops, we have the same set of people coming again and again and the ones who need to hear the things we have to say do not," he said. "Individuals have to start valuing their work and they need to recognise sooner rather than later that this is a business and they ought to treat it as such. Good businessmen know they need to do what they must to secure their assets and although the music industry was birthed through informality, music professionals need to take the business more seriously."