Licensing of Copyright Music at Political Events

The 2016 general elections in St. Lucia heralds a new dawn in the relationship between political parties and the Eastern Caribbean Collective Organisation for Music Rights. Although ECCO has been established in St. Lucia since 2009, and prior to that ECCO’s predecessor was HMS (Hewanorra Musical Society), it has always been a challenge to get political parties to license their rallies, motorcades and other events where music is to be used. The organisation has met with mixed results in the past but can say that in 2016 both political parties are fully on board with ECCO.

ECCO General Manager Steve Etienne says there is frequent traffic to the organisation’s headquarters in St. Lucia with both parties taking out the necessary permits to allow for music to be played, and that’s wonderful news for the organisation and its membership. As is customary ECCO will collate data on the music performances at these political events so royalties can be paid out in accordance to the data collected.

“We’ve always believed that leadership must be shown, and if one intends to run the country then one ought to abide by the laws of the country” says Etienne, “so that’s a great and wonderful turn of events and we appreciate this.”

In light of this however, ECCO has noticed that there are many occurrences of infringement at these events where music has been adapted and there is uncertainty that the necessary rights have been cleared for such adaptations to be considered legitimate. Therefore, ECCO urges both parties, and political parties across the ECCO territories, to seek permission when they intend to adapt someone else’s song with their political slogans, messages, etc.

Mr. Etienne explains, “they do need to contact the owner of the copyright directly and ECCO is always on hand to help advise on who should be contacted. We do urge the political parties to continue the good trend of clearance for the public performances of copyright music at their events but for the adaptation of someone else’s work they need to seek permission from the copyright holder before making any changes to the original work or sound recording.”

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ECCO Member Spotlight: Sabrina Francis

IMG_3914Soul resonates from her core. With each melodic line, Sabrina Francis’ raspy emotive voice envelopes your entire being, gently transporting you, through the sheer passion which she emanates, to a beautiful euphoric world of love, beauty and light.

Born in Grenada to a music-loving family Sabrina says for her, music and songs have always been a way of life. Her mother an avid Calypsonian and songwriter; Lady Empress, while her father a music enthusiast with an ongoing love affair with his brown box guitar affectionately named, Betsy; Sabrina says she and her sibling were taught from early to appreciate music. With a laugh she reminisced that growing up, she and her family would often have impromptu singing sessions, with her dad strumming music from his guitar Betsy.

Their impromptu family singing sessions soon opened up the door for Sabrina to share her voice with Grenada on a small but memorable scale, as she and her sisters excitedly performed every opportunity they got. But Sabrina says it wasn’t until she met, Dieter Burkhalter; former owner of a music school and store in Switzerland; that she decided to pursue music as a career. Sabrina recalls that on a November 2013 evening, after performing a few songs with a gospel band at Burkhalter’s hotel, so captivated was he by her sound and voice, that he approached her to create music together.

“He believes in my music and has a very convincing way with words,” Sabrina offered. Noting that it was this meeting which lead he devote serious time and energy into improving her talent and to pursue her music passion.

It’s evident that since that November 2013 Day, Sabrina’s musical journey has been a whirlwind one. Allowing herself to dive in, in pursuit of her passion, earlier this year Sabrina released her debut album titled “Think In Colour.” An album which she says reflects some of her own personal experiences and observations about life which had a direct, strong impact on her emotions.

“When I start writing a song, a lot of the times it’s simply to express what I’m feeling in that moment,” Sabrina offers. “So the message can vary, from anger, to hurt, to simple observations, to frustrations and back to anger again. In any case, I am generally of the opinion that positive things can come out of negative situations once you keep positive people and have positive thoughts and I trust that this is reflected in my music.”IMG_8610

Sabrina, who became a member of ECCO earlier in 2016 year, considers her biggest accomplishment the fact that a song which she wrote as a love song to her home island Grenada, has been used to launch the island’s re-branding to “Pure Grenada,” and it now used to promote her beautiful island home.

Further in April 2016, Sabrina wowed not just the audience, but also celebrated soul recording artist, Joss Stone, with her performance at the Pure Grenada Music Festival. This lead to a jam session with the two artists at the festival’s culminating show.

Joss & Sabrina

Sabrina Jams with Joss Stone during Pure Grenada Music Festival 2016

Get to know Sabrina Better with the following Sabrina Bites! 

ECCO: How would you describe yourself?

Sabrina: This is always a funny question because the way I see myself is often not the way I’m seen by others. I would say I’m a calm, decisive, serious young lady while persons closest to me would say I’m everything but. However there are some factors of my personality that stands out and cannot be denied. I am very passionate about my interests and the people in my life. Laughing is one of my favourite hobbies, right up there with singing, and my life’s goal has so far been to find a healthy balance between leading a full and exciting life and keeping it as simple, as realistic and relate-able as possible.

ECCO: How would you describe your music and your sound?

Sabrina: We call it “Acoustic soul from the West Indies.” It’s my soul on paper. It has an intimate feel because we value the sound of real instruments, so as a rule we limit our use of computer loops and sample drum grooves. We try to keep the overall sound as real and as raw as possible

ECCO: Name one thing about yourself that most people won’t know

Sabrina: I listen to the sound of rain to fall asleep or when I’m having a hard time writing.

ECCO: What is your ultimate music goal?

Sabrina: To be able to make a comfortable living with my music.

ECCO: When you’re not doing music, what are you doing?

Sabrina: I dress up as an Administrative Assistant during the day to pass time until I’m on a stage again.

ECCO: What makes you laugh?

Sabrina: I can laugh at anything. Including myself sometimes.

Stay  Connected with Sabrina via Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/Sabrina473

—Feature Article Written by Christine “Chrycee” Charlemagne