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Jamaica's Intellectual Property Office

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Clearly outline the role and function of JIPO and evaluate the extent to which the passing of the Copyright Act (1993) have impacted Jamaican music business culture, practices and law.

The term Copyright, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, can be defined as the legal right granted to an author, composer, playwright, publisher, or distributor to exclusive publication, production, sale, or distribution of a literary, musical, dramatic, or artistic work.

In Jamaica, copyright and the laws associated with it were not really recognized until when the copyright Act was tabled and passed in the Jamaican Parliament on September 1, 1993. For the purposes of the Jamaican Copyright Act, copyright applies to original dramatic, literary, sound recordings, artistic works, films, cable programmes, broadcasts or typographical arrangements of published editions. Due to the vast landscape of the performing and literary arts sectors, copyright-protected material includes word that is spoken, sung and/or written, graphic works such as paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, dances and mimes, as well as films, just to name a few areas.

For the protection of Jamaican persons who seek to own intellectual property and earn from it, the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office was formed in January of 2001. This formation was done at this time due to the fact that there was a heightened need to track and safeguard intellectual property of Jamaicans and persons who propagate Intellectual Property in Jamaica. Intellectual property can best be defined as a product of the intellect that has commercial value, including copyrighted property such as literary or artistic works, and ideational property, such as patents, appellations of origin, business methods, and industrial processes. (American Heritage Dictionary). The concept of Intellectual Property has been recorded as being used from as early as 1845, though it has been in the public's eye since 1967, when the World Intellectual Property Organization was formed. In general, WIPO's main mandate is to "promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world." They seek to do so by creating conventions, or agreements that will govern Intellectual Property and worldwide use of the term, and its components.

The Jamaica Intellectual Property Office's role in the Jamaican music industry is multi-faceted: it looks out for infringements carried out upon registered intellectual properties registered locally and internationally, it seeks to educate the public about Intellectual Property and the laws and concepts surrounding it. JIPO also aims to make a meaningful contribution to the national economic development and growth by administering, enforcing and protecting Intellectual Property and its associated rights (and assisting its beneficiaries in receiving the necessary compensation). Due to the ever-changing technological advancements, the JIPO also has a mandate to keep track of these changes and make the necessary modifications to the relevant Jamaican copyright and Intellectual Property laws.

According to the United Nations Commission on Trade and Development, Jamaica's Music Industry's earnings have been valued at US$1.2 billion, including music sales, event ticket sales, performers' incomes, revenue from production, promotion, marketing as well as manufacturing processes. Unfortunately, only US$1.3 million of Jamaica's music earnings abroad are repatriated to Jamaica. In a direct response to this fact, the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office was formed and mandated to make the necessary changes to Jamaica's existing Copyright and Intellectual Property laws in order to stake a greater claim for this untapped segment of foreign income.

When the Copyright Act was passed in 1993, it provided a formalized framework for members of the Jamaican Music Industry to receive greater protection in a culture that has all but embraced the concept of 'piracy' and Jamaicans' predisposition to seeking free alternatives to partaking in particular aspects of the Industry (for example, gaining free entry to music events, unauthorized copying of musical works - tapes, CDs, and more recently, mp3 file sharing). Here in Jamaica, there are a number of agencies that persons who own copyrighted material can sign up with in order to facilitate proper rights licensing. These agencies will also seek out and act upon licensing opportunities presented by interested parties, on behalf of the copyright owners. These agencies include:

* Intellectual Property Services Centre (IPC)

- The Centre is geared towards assisting Intellectual Property Rights holders to properly manage their rights and assisting users of IP material

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