My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: JAMCOPY and MOE Copyright Infringement – UWI License to Kill in a Clash of the Titans

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

JAMCOPY and MOE Copyright Infringement – UWI License to Kill in a Clash of the Titans

And whether you’re an honest man or whether you’re a thief
Depends on whose solicitor has given me my brief

W.S. Gilbert, Utopia, Limited, I

The issue of Copyright protection for one intellectual property is a very serious issue still plaguing the local Jamaican Music Industry. A solution may soon be in grasp, if Jamaica follows the example of our American Cousins. Of what do I speak?

Just in case you have been under a proverbial Cone of Silence Get Smart (2008) Style, the US Government has been shutting down File Sharing Networks such as Limewire in a bid to make money from Online and Physical Disc sales of  Digital Video and Music as stated in my blog article entitled “UWI and Piracy - The Real Pirate Bay” and the article “UWI and Piracy - Release the Kraken”. Good idea, as that money can wean the US Government off its insatiable appetite for using Treasury Bills to borrow money!

Telecoms Providers and ISP (Internet Service Providers), under pressure form Hollywood Studios, have decided to follow the French and High Authority for Dissemination of Works and Protection of Rights on the Internet (Hadopi) and threaten Millennials [ages 18 to 28] with lifetime bans for Digital Video and Music Piracy in a “six-strikes-your-out” system dubbed the Copyright Alert System as stated in my blog article entitled “Telecom Providers and Copyright Alert System - Pirates on Stranger Tides experience Pain au chocolat”.

Their efforts appear to be showing signs of success, with Nielsen SoundScan recording 1% growth in sales figures for albums, both Digital Online and Physics Discs in July 2011AD over a six (6) month period, the first such growth after years of decline as chronicled in my blog article entitled “Nielsen Soundscan 1% Rise in Music Album Sales - Greg Sandoval's FireStarter”.

A similar measure is desperately needed in Jamaica involving the cooperation of the Government of Jamaica, the local Telecom Providers and copyright watchdog JAMCOPY (Jamaican Copyright Licensing Agency). Already, JAMCOPY located at Building 3, 17 Ruthven Road in Kingston, has signed agreements with the US Government that retroactively protect Jamaican and American Intellectual Property in each other jurisdictions since 2004AD as stated in the article “Ja/US move to protect authors”, published Wednesday, April 28, 2004, The Jamaica Observer.

Shirley Carby of JIPO (Jamaica Intellectual Property Office) and chairman of JAMCOPY, then intoned the eventual intentions of JAMCOPY, quote: “We are now preparing to negotiate with the Ministry of Education....and we intend to do the same with universities and then private institutions”. A noble ambition, being launched on an equally noble World Copyright Day on Monday April 26 2004AD!

Fast forward to the year 2011AD, a good seven (7) years into the future and very little headway has been made in this area of protecting the Intellectual Property in printed form. Granted, JAMCOPY has now began collecting royalties on behalf of authors of printed material and has up to December 2010AD, disbursed up to about JA$3.3 million to two hundred and five (205) copyright holders as stated in the article “JAMCOPY distributes $3.3 million in royalties”, published Thursday, December 16, 2010, The Jamaica Observer.

JAMCOPY states that, quote: “This is good news for the students, lecturers and administrators of those eight colleges, who will now be able to make legitimate copies from image and text-based copyright material published in Jamaica and 30 other countries.” However, left out of the Copyright Act loop are the UWI (University of the West Indies) and the Ministry of Education, a Ministry with which JAMCOPY has been in negotiations since 2006AD to have signed on to getting a license that allows them to copy and reproduce the work of their registered members.

If this sounds strange in a world with computers, Scanners and the Internet, rest assured it is not.

Disclosure: One of the easiest ways to Pirate Books on the UWI is to simply scan them using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software such as ABBY Fine Reader Professional 10.0 and upload to the Internet as a PDF file for fellow University Students to download, a task no more difficult and no different from ripping a CD (Compact Disc) and putting it on your MP4 player or making bootleg copies of said CD’s.

CD’s by the way, JAMCOPY along with the JAPA (Jamaica Anti-Piracy Alliance) and the Jamaica Constabulary Force aka the Jamaican Police helped to destroy during Intellectual Property Week 2011 in April 2011AD as stated in the article “VIDEO: 1.2 million bootleg CDs destroyed”, published Saturday, April 16, 2011 BY SHAWN BARNES Observer video editor, The Jamaica Observer, roughly about one million two hundred thousand (1,200,000) CD and two hundred and twelve thousand (212,000) DVD’s.

The reverse is also true for E-Books too, from our American counterparts, which can be easily downloaded from the Internet from torrent sites such as KickAssTorrents, The Pirate Bay and 4Shared as I did while at the UWI studying for my Degree in Electronics and Chemistry in the Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences as stated in my blog article entitled “UWI and Piracy - The Real Pirate Bay” and the article “UWI and Piracy - Release the Kraken”. 

E-Books Readers such as the Amazon Kindle or the Barnes and Noble Nook can go a long way to protect printed material and modernize the UWI Library as stated in my blog article entitled “How UWI can save money in a recession”.

Hence JAMCOPY interest in getting the Ministry of Education and by extension the UWI signed up for a Licence to Kill (1989), JAMCOPY style as stated in the article “VIDEO: Copyright infringement by gov't schools continues”, published Tuesday, July 19, 2011 BY JANICE BUDD Associate editor - Sunday, The Jamaica Observer and the article “JAMCOPY turns focus on tertiary institutions”, published Tuesday, July 19, 2011 BY ALICIA DUNKLEY Senior staff reporter, The Jamaica Observer respectively.

The Internet, for the cash-strapped student, is their ultimate saviour. But the Intellectual Property of Copyright holders of works of art must be protected, especially from such large institutions that copy and reprint books with photocopiers and thanks to the Internet, have the ability to fuel a rapid proliferation of e-book Piracy as per my Geezam Blog entitled “Piracy and E-books in a Tale of Two Cities”.

A Local Writer’s Guild, in much the same way that other professions have a membership platform that speaks on their behalf and represents them, is also required to make writers more organized and offer Copyright protection to Jamaican authors, writers, poets, songwriters, programmers and bloggers who do not work for a large company or Statutory body as stated in the article “Wanted: A local writers' guild”, published Tuesday, July 19, 2011 by Alicia Dunkley, The Jamaica Observer.

Once Copyright holders of written or spoken material are members of a Writer’s Guild, which would naturally seek a JAMCOPY affiliation, you are automatically protected whenever your work is used without your permission. Thus, your case goes straight to the Copyright Tribunal as opposed to going through the long circuitous process of the Courts as JAMCOPY General Manager Carol Newman emphasizes.

Even the Intellectual Property of those us who gave away our ideas and songs but were caught on a hidden audio-visual device or recorded in some way, as this is the first form of Copyright according to JAMCOPY Vice Chairperson, Dianne Daley. Such as is my case back in April 2009AD while traveling with a bunch of brain-dead Shurpower Engineers and speaking out aloud and even singing (literally, I do remember!!) my creative ideas in songs.

That’s why, in case anyone is wondering about the Copyright of the Viral Video hit as chronicled in my blog article entitled “Daqri combines QR Codes with Augmented Reality - Ads and PR Minority Report Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and my Geezam blog article entitled “Social Media Marketing – Advertising and Marketing in Ja on a Shoe-String” nobody canna cross it!

So it is hoped that the Ministry of Education and by extension the UWI will cooperate with JAMCOPY and be Licence to Kill (1989), JAMCOPY style, as unwittingly, not only are they accelerating Printed and Online e-book piracy, but they may also be allowing foreigners to copy their Intellectual Property without knowing it.

A group effort by the Government of Jamaica and Local Telecom Providers and ISP’s, to take a page from our American cousins would also be helpful in stemming the distribution of Copyright Infringing Material aka Digital Music and Video Piracy over the Internet as Copyright protection works both ways in this Clash of the Titans (2010)

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