The Association of Caribbean Copyright Associations (ACCS) hosted its Annual Meeting today 12th August, 2015 at the Infinity on the Beach Hotel in St. Lawrence Gap Barbados. HE Ambassador Mikael Barfod, Head of Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean gave the opening address and spoke of the importance of protecting original works and of the value resident in music and other forms of artistic expression such as photography, arts, etc.
The meeting which was the main one in a week of other business focused activities was attended by the Office of Trade Negotiations (OTN), Compete Caribbean, the Caribbean Development Bank, Caribbean Export, and the BIDC as well as it key member agencies including the Copyright Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (COSCAP); the Copyright Organization of Trinidad & Tobago (COTT); the Eastern Caribbean Collective Management Organization (ECCO); the Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers (JACAP) and JAMCOPY discussed the strategic repositioning of ACCS and its members agencies in the face of new challenges. McCarthy Marie, President of the Board of Directors for ACCS spoke briefly on the challenges facing Collective Management Organizations (CMOs) in the Caribbean region including those related to rapid technology changes, a general resistance to copyrights and related rights and continued infringement and illegal use within the region and externally, as well as the lack of viable regional platforms for the performers and entertainers. Ms. Lydia Rose, Chairperson of the Management Committee of ACCS highlighted the achievements of ACCS over the past year and pointed to the importance of the continued role of ACCS and the CMOs within the Caribbean Region to continue to effectively serve as “the first point of contact for issues that demand regional approaches and responses on matters of intellectual property rights generally and collective management more specifically…” and of the need to continue to provide important advocacy and lobbying services. One highlight of the meeting was the announcement by ACCS of the establishment of a Caribbean Music Export Office within the auspices of ACCS that will provide technical and advisory services to stakeholders within the music sector on matters related to contracts, business development, and participation in international events. This initiative is complemented by an agreement between ACCS and Piranha Arts AG located in Germany for joint efforts that will be framed under a MoU and which will focus on helping ACCS to build capacity for developing and sustaining its Caribbean Music Export Office; help establish a regional showcase for the music sector; and technical assistance for capacity building for participating in international showcases and events. ACCS also announced that as part of its new strategic framework and work plan going forward increased efforts will be placed on capacity building and strengthening of the governance aspects of CMOs within the region. To that end ACCS will be developing a Board Development Module for CMOs in the Caribbean region and that will be rolled out to CMOs in other small states around the world.
Presentations on joint efforts with ACCS on copyright and related rights initiatives were also delivered by representatives of international partners including from CISAC, IFPI, WIPO and IFPRO as well as from other regional entities – CDB, Compete Caribbean and Caribbean Export – that are currently implementing initiatives that benefit the creative industries generally in the area of intellectual property rights.
The Annual Meeting was preceded earlier in the week by a meeting of the Board of Directors of ACCS and will be followed later in the week by bi-lateral meetings with WIPO and CISAC, as well as by a meeting hosted by the OTN and USTR to address cross-border licensing of broadcast signals.