ECCO Appoints Agent in St Kitts & Nevis

Grace-Richardson_ECCO-ArticleThe Eastern Caribbean Collective Organization for Music Rights (ECCO) Inc is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms Grace Richardson as ECCO Agent in St Kitts & Nevis with immediate effect.

As ECCO Agent, Richardson will handle the licensing of public use of music in St Kitts and Nevis; collection of music use data; and will also serve as the key point of contact for music users, advising them on effective music use.

Mr Steve Etienne, General Manager of ECCO says this appointment is important to the advancement of the music industry and protection of music rights in St Kitts. According to Etienne, ECCO aims to achieve a greater level of licensing of events, entities and venues were the works of local songwriters are more likely to be performed, thereby generating a higher level of returns for ECCO Members in St Kitts & Nevis.

“We believe our efforts can now be accelerated with someone on the ground who is within easy reach of music users,” Etienne adds. “It is essential for music users and the creative community to have a local face to connect and do business with. This is why were are pleased to have Ms Grace Richardson as ECCO Agent in St Kitts & Nevis.”

A music professional and Co-Owner/Manager of St Kitts-based Music Publishing Company ROOCOO, Richardson says she is excited at the opportunity to positively contribute towards the advancement of the music industry in St Kitts & Nevis.

“At this point in time it is very important that the visibility of ECCO be increased in St Kitts & Nevis,” Richardson offers. “Music creators and users on island need to be educated about their rights and responsibilities so the Federation can sustain a viable music business environment. Much of the business taking place at present is outside of what is the legal standard worldwide and change is needed urgently to rectify this situation.”

Richardson advises that in undertaking her new role, she is determined to achieve three main objectives:

  • Increase the visibility of ECCO though public education and engagement with the media.
  • Increase the licensing of public use of music, in accordance with music copyright law.
  • Assist with growing ECCO membership.

ECCO welcomes Ms Richardson to its music rights team base, and looks forward to working her, as the organization seeks to realize its mandate to administer and protect music rights within the Eastern Caribbean.

A society of writers & publishers of music, ECCO is a Collective Management Organization (CMO) responsible for the administration of performance rights and the licensing of public use of music. Through reciprocal agreements with CMOs throughout the world, ECCO represents and can license virtually the whole worldwide repertoire of copyright music for public performance, broadcast, cable transmission, online and mobile use.


ECCO Provides Free Access to Music Business Seminar

ecco logoThis week the Association of Caribbean Copyright Societies (ACCS) in partnership with Barbados-based Copyright Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Incorporated (COSCAP) present the Fundamentals of the Business of Music Seminar.

The Seminar, which will initially be piloted in Barbados, will run from Wednesday June 29th to Friday July 1st, at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel; and forms part of ACCS’ Business of Music Seminar Series—financed with support from the Caribbean Development Bank.

Free online participation is open to members of the Eastern Caribbean Collective Organization for Music Rights (ECCO) Inc, and will be facilitated via live streaming on COSCAP’s website:

The main objective of this music education seminar is to assist participants develop a better understanding of the essentials of starting and managing a business in today’s music sector.

Key presenters for this three-day event are Mr Chris Cooke, Author of “Dissecting the Digital Dollar” and Ms. Sari Delmar, Brand Specialist and CEO of AB Company. Meanwhile the Barbados Investment & Development Corporation (BIDC) will also conduct a half-day music lab, aimed at helping participants develop and articulate basic business plans utilizing approaches learned from the seminar.

Essentially, the Fundamentals of the Business of Music Seminar will run from 9am to 4pm each day, addressing the following topics:fundamentals-of-music-flyer

DAY ONE – Wednesday June 29, 2016

  • Making Money from Music (How to Take Advantage of Core Revenue Stream Opportunities)
  • Managing Music Rights for Revenue Generation
  • Intro to Deals & Artist Management

DAY TWO – Thursday June 30, 2016

  • The Digital Market (Developing Strategies to Digitalization)
  • Evolving Your Business
  • Women in Music

DAY THREE – July 1st, 2016

  • Developing your Brand (Part One): Strategies for Developing a Good Brand
  • Developing your Brand (Part Two): Marketing Your Brand & Using Online Marketing Channels

ECCO urges members and music professionals to take advantage of this significant music education seminar, to better equip themselves with the knowledge and tools to succeed in today’s music industry.

The Association of Caribbean Copyrights Societies (ACCS) was founded in 2000, and serves as a Regional Centre, whose task it is to accurately monitor and maintain a centralized Caribbean database, ensuring acceptable data standards for all incoming and exported information on the works stored within this database. ACCS also acts as the communications “link” between the Caribbean copyright societies, facilitating regional integration and concentrated efforts in one common direction. ACCS can be viewed as the “umbrella” organisation which encompasses the author societies of the region, presenting one common voice on issues relating to Intellectual property and authors’ rights. Above all, the principal aim of Association of Caribbean Copyright Societies is to place regional authors, composers and publishers in a better position to collect royalties from international markets.  The Founding members of ACCS are COSCAP (Copyright Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers Inc.) of Barbados, COTT (Copyright Music Organisation of Trinidad & Tobago), ECCO (Eastern Caribbean Collective Organisation for Music Rights) of the OECS, and JACAP (Jamaican Association of Composers, Authors & Publishers Ltd).


IFPI Grants ECCO the Right to Administer Related Rights for International Sound Recording Owners in the OECS



Photo Retrieved

“Copyright enables you to make a living off your art,” says Dave Kusek, founder and former CEO of Berklee Online and founder of the New Artist Model online music business course. “When you write or record music you produce more than just a ‘song,’” Kusek expounds.  “You also get exclusive rights and no one else can perform actions protected by your rights unless you give them permission.”

Kusek goes on to state that there are two kinds of music copyrights, the composition and the sound recording. Currently within the Eastern Caribbean, through the Eastern Caribbean Collective Organization for Music Rights (ECCO) Inc, focus has primarily been on composition copyrights, through the administration of performance rights.  Performance Rights owners [i.e. owner of the copyrights in the music composition] are typically the songwriters, composer and music publishers.

As a Collective Management Organization (CMO) responsible for the administration of performance rights on behalf of songwriters and music publishers, ECCO through reciprocal agreements with other CMOs worldwide, licenses the public use of music. ECCO in turn remits to the composition copyright holders the respective performance rights royalties related to the public use of copyright music.


Photo Retrieved from

Directly related to copyrights in the ‘song’ (owned by the songwriters and music publishers), are the rights of owners in the recording of the ‘sound’–the rights of which are typically owned by the recording artist/performer and the master recording owners (usually record label or the executive producer of the recording). Copyrights in the sound recording owned by the performer and record label/executive producer are referred to as Related Rights or Neighbouring Rights. According to a article, they are called related rights/neighbouring rights because they are said to be directly “related to” performance rights.

Related rights refer to the right to publicly perform or broadcast a sound recording. As with every copyright, owners of those rights are entitled to collect royalties every time the sound recording is broadcast or publicly played. However, it is important to note, that without a collective society or CMO to administer related rights, owners of these rights will find it extremely difficult to self administer their rights in much the same way as songwriters would find it impossible to track performances of their songs, locally, regionally or globally and on the flip side, music users would not be able to cope with having to clear the millions of recordings existing globally as laws demand.

The good news for the Eastern Caribbean is that ECCO has been approached by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) to collect related rights on their behalf in the OECS. ECCO is currently preparing its Business Plan to set out its financial plan, training for staff and agents, education of the market and identifying owners of the sound recording within the OECS (who will become a new category of members) with a view to ECCO administering related rights in the new year.

What does this mean for music rights holders within the OECS?

As expected, finalization of agreements by ECCO to administer Related Rights will mean that the Eastern Caribbean society will now be able to collect royalties on behalf of a new set of rights owners (performers, and owners of the master recording) who up to now have not been able to benefit from exploitation of the rights in their recordings.  Through reciprocal agreements ECCO will also be able to collect royalties for use of its members recordings globally which would usher in a new stream of music industry revenue for OECS rights holders.


Kusek, D. (2014). Understanding Copyright: 6 Exclusive Rights for Indie Musicians. Retrieved from (n.d.). What are Neighboring Rights? Retrieved from



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.”

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:

—Feature Article Written by Christine “Chrycee” Charlemagne


The Importance of Agreements between Collaborative Songwriters


For many songwriters and composers, music creation is fueled purely by their love of the art-form. No surprise then that many do not take the time after collaborating on musical works to iron out and agree to ownership rights, control rights and  revenue splits.

Perhaps it’s because most creatives tend to shy away from the business side of things; or maybe they think agreements between collaborative writers are too complex for them to handle. Whatever the reason or the thinking, if you’re a composer or songwriter, failing to set agreements about ownership and revenue splits could mean major trouble in the future!

According to Entertainment lawyer, Wallace E. J. Collins III, considering the myriad issues that can arise, devising and signing off a copyright and ownership agreement is highly recommended. Collins explains that in the absence of a written agreement, under current case law concerning both copyright and partnership law, two or more collaborators are generally deemed to share equally on a pro-rata basis. This he says, may be so, even if it is clear that the contributions of the authors were not equal, since the Courts generally prefer not to make decisions about the value of each author’s contribution to a copyright. Alternatively, music co-writers can divide copyright ownership in whatever portion they determine by establishing a written agreement.

Outside of a determination of the song’s copyright ownership and revenue share, Wallace adds that the written agreement can also be utilized to determine who will handle the administration rights of the work. He notes that generally most songwriters prefer that there is separate administration among the various writers and their respective publishing companies, whereby each author retains control over their respective share of the copyright. Wallace explains that in this way, each writer is able to retain some control over what happens with the song, the scope of the license and the amount charged.

As it relates to US copyright law, Wallace explains that each joint copyright owner can exploit the song and also grant non-exclusive licenses to third parties, subject to the duty to account to the co-writers for any money that is generated. Additionally he notes that each writer could transfer all or some of their respective share of the copyright to another party without affecting the ownership interests of other co-writers in the copyright. Further he states that unless this is expressed in a written agreement signed by all parties, no one writer can grant an exclusive license nor transfer copyright ownership in the entire song without the written permission of each co-writer.

These are the kind of issues which Wallace says can be addressed in a written collaboration agreement. He notes that there are endless variations depending on the circumstances, and that the written collaboration agreement can be tailored to suit the needs and wants of the parties involved.  For example, he notes that each author could retain his or her share of revenues and ownership, but grant the administration rights to one party, thereby rendering the synchronization licensing process more seamless, as it is usually more convenient for one party to have the right to grant license and to collect and divide all of the income.

And Wallace says, there is no need for the written agreement to be complex. It can be as simple as a pie chart drawing made on a napkin at a dinner after the writing session, signed by all parties he offers! Alternatively it could take the form of a more structured writer’s agreement. The main factors to consider is that the agreement speaks to copyright, revenue and control splits, and that it is signed by all parties.




—Post by Christine “Chrycee” Charlemagne

ECCO MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Linda “Chocolate” Berthier

black and beautifulMusic, she says, is not her career, but her lifestyle! “If I stop singing, I think I might just stop breathing,” the ever delightful Linda “Chocolate” Berthier laughs, her eyes burning with passion.

Born to a musical family, Chocolate’s childhood bedtimes was filled with the sweet strains of the acoustic guitar, with her father strumming the instrument. She grew up listening to the great classics from the Commodores, to Frank Sinatra Earth Wind and Fire and countless more Gospel, and Country & Western favorites. Meanwhile Chocolate would be cozy up in her room with her trusty dual cassette player turned recorder by use of a headphone attached to the back; singing her own favorites in different harmonies, recording each to create a play back Chocolate Symphony of alto, soprano, tenor, unison and melody.

Other times she’d sit for hours with headphone on, listening and singing along to music greats like Whitney Houston, BeBe and CeCe Winans, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Christina Aguilera, Paula Abdul, and John Secada’s English and Spanish songs!

Her first performance before an audience occurred when she was only five-years-old—singing before her church congregation, her very first original song to God on behalf of her who aunt was sick at the time.

Reminiscing on that experience, Chocolate recalls “I wrote it mentally in Sunday school, and the boy next to me was so irritated about my constant singing he reported me to the teacher. The loving teacher made me sing to the class and later that day to the entire congregation. I still have not recovered from that bittersweet experience!”

From there Chocolate’s musical love affair blossomed. As she grew older she continued honing her talents and craft; performing regularly at church. It wasn’t long before she graced the national stage in St Lucia and began working with prominent St Lucian and regional artists like Jeff “Pele” Elva, Ronald “Boo” Hinkson, Junior Tucker, TC Brown, Zionomi, Emrand Henry, performing duets or recording backing vocals onstage and music albums.dancehall

She admits that she was initially timid about taking the steps to recording her own originals and pushing herself as an artist. She credits her good friend Werner “Semi” Francis for giving her that push and urging her to do her own music as well.

Chocolate who wears many hats—singer, songwriter, recording artist, registered nurse, wife, mother of two adorable twins—says like her multi-faceted life, her inspiration comes from many places.

“First of all from my mother who taught me what unconditional, unwavering and spiritual love is,” she offers. “I sometimes sleep and wake up in the night with a new song in my head from start to finish; Music composed and all. I listen to other great artists and feel inspired by their drive and energy. I spend time with my higher power and get more inspiration to write, and just day-to-day experiences cause me to put pen to paper. At work when I start singing I don’t realize it until a patient or colleague makes mention of it. So I really cannot stop myself.  I can only explain it by saying that ‘Music is I and I Am Music.’ I feel the urge to add ‘Love & Music is my Religion,’” she grins, her vivacious laughter resounding in the room.

For her part, Chocolate describes her music as contemporary, music for all, with a message of love.

“It’s all about love,” she says. “Loving yourself, loving your enemies, loving life like every day is the last day. Loving the sounds and vibrations around you, through your headphones, car stereo, and music system at home. It’s about breathing in fresh fragrances of life all around seeing every day for what it is; a miracle that should not be taken for granted. Which is why, though I have had a challenging past, I smiled every day. I owe this ability to my mother because she was what I just described; A Lover of life and people regardless of the circumstances,”

She goes on: “Everyone needs love and love heals everyone in all states and phases. Whether you’re happy or sad, you can never stop hearing positive, quality, and infectious music. Scady Dot P described my voice on the ‘Yo Magazine’ as “Sultry” and I do agree. When I listen back, I couldn’t understand what others said with words like raspy, soulful but after really opening up my mind and heart to my voice, I hear that it is bleeding emotions and positive vibrations straight from my heart through my lips.”

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Chocolate considers her perspective of life and music as one of her greatest musical accomplishments. The fact that she is no longer shy and afraid to express herself musically.

“I am very happy to define my own meaning of self and my beliefs. Yes I am grateful for gaining music Awards from the Marlin Awards and St. Lucia Music awards, and encouragement from Chocoloverz (fan base aka family), I feel the greatest accomplishment is me happily pushing to achieve my educational goals (Registered Nurse, Certified Midwife, Bachelors Degree in Public Health with Honors), while still producing music that I love.”

She credits her successes to date, and her ability to wear so many hats on her natural inborn drive and what she describes as the “Stubborn ‘Yes I Can’” gene which resonates on both sides of her family, driving them to take risks to invest in their passions and to flourish.

Yet even so, Chocolate says she would have never been able to do it all had it not been for spiritual guidance, her supportive family and praying mother. “As I grow older, I am thankful for being raised in the understanding of depending on the Higher Power to take the wheel as I Co-Pilot the journey.”

Keep up to date with Chocolate’s journey:


—Written by Christine “Chrycee” Charlemagne