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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