EDITORIAL: Respect artiste copyright
EVERY YEAR THOUSANDS OF people look forward to what our songwriters and music publishers will deliver during Crop Over.
Yet, these “entertainers” and the field they are in continue to receive lower levels of respect than those whose talents are used in other fields of endeavour.
Every day, news reporters sit through various meetings and sift through documents to inform and document details in a reader-friendly manner, making it easy for listeners and exciting for viewers.
Our authors write books, plays, poems and short stories which can set out historical records, highlight satirical skills and cause us to have introspection on our lives and society.
Our architects translate our heritage with their unique designs as well as offer practical benefits.
They are all creators and innovators who bring many economic advantages to our country. Their skills and competencies in many instances add value in unique ways which also strengthen democracy, education and information. But all this comes at a cost.
The artist cannot afford to write simply for love of labour whether it be a song, a play or a book . The media houses cannot devote tremendous expense in the cost of covering news, sports, entertainment and health events strictly as a public service.
For all these efforts there must be a fair return in support of output. These providers of creative content must be rewarded for their efforts. It can only happen if there is an effective policy of copyright laws and the policing of them and more importantly, respect for creative work.
Yesterday, there were Copyright Day activities in Barbados. But, we dare say, they were too little and too limited to be effective. The message must be hammered home for there to be full understanding and appreciation of the importance of intellectual property in helping to promote free markets and competition. Consider the pressure the Americans apply globally to protect the interest of their creative content producers.
Too many people in Barbados still believe that creators are different from others in the knowledge economy.
That is why people who are otherwise law-abiding download and buy pirated copies of music and movies – local or foreign – and software. Based on the cries of the local copyright agency, even some of the big distribution channels of international movies and news content have little regard for the laws.
We need to take heed of the theme for this year’s World Intellectual Property Day, being observed tomorrow, which interestingly is focused on music: Get up, Stand up. For Music. Better yet, Get up, stand up. For creativity.