The University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus says it’s eager to settle its copyright infringement dispute with the Barbados Copyright Agency (B-Copy), but not on the terms that the local body has put on the table.
The MIDWEEK NATION understands a major sticking point is the formula used by B-Copy to calculate the licence fee that would allow the university to reproduce printed material of local, regional and international authors for students.
Although not providing details about the areas of contention, the university’s communications officer Chelston Lovell said the university had to “ensure that the requisite criteria for settlement are equitable and fair and, to this end, will continue to negotiate in good faith with B-Copy with the objective of effecting a reasonable and just resolution of this matter.”
He contended that it was in the interest of the university, which is a major producer of copyrighted material and an employer of many academics who publish, to ensure that all copyright laws are adhered to and respected.
“Indeed, the university, as a responsible social and academic institution, has a vested interest in having this matter resolved as expeditiously as possible,” Lovell said.
B-Copy has suggested a rate of US$8.42 per student per year, similar to what the Mona Campus has been paying to the Jamaica Copyright Licensing Agency since 2008.
The local organization’s chairman Antonio “Boo” Rudder said the figure used by JAMCOPY was arrived at through “a process of evaluating the rates within a number of societies and also taking into consideration the economic costs, and so on, in the particular country.”
However, university sources have disclosed that the Cave Hill Campus is not satisfied that the method used for Mona is scientific and is therefore resisting using that approach.
Responding to allegations that Cave Hill was dragging its feet on the matter, Lovell told the MIDWEEK NATION that the issue is a “highly complex” one.
He said the university’s attorneys Carrington & Sealy had been in constant communication with the legal representatives for B-Copy, and the educational institution was awaiting responses to several pieces of communication sent to the agency’s lawyers.
It has been three years since the negotiations between B-Copy and the UWI Cave Hill Campus began, and the agency is now seriously considering seeking a court injunction, according to Rudder.
The International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organization has already given the local agency support in going that route, in order to bring an end to Cave Hill’s alleged breach of Barbados’ Copyright Act.