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Entertainers seeking amendment to copyright law

A group of local artists is pushing for an amendment to the country’s copyright law, which would provide for better compensation for certain people in the entertainment industry.

Obi Pindling, leader of the popular Visage band, said the amendment would ensure that artists and producers receive royalties that they do not currently get for their efforts.

Pindling pointed out that artists and producers who record songs that they did not write do not currently get royalties.

Those royalties are paid by the Performing Rights Society to the composers.

Using popular Bahamian songwriter and entertainer Kirkland ‘KB’ Bodie as an example, Pindling said he only gets compensated as the songwriter but not as the artist for his own work.

He also said, “A lot of times you have artists who go in the studio but record songs written by other persons.  In The Bahamas, many of the artists write their own songs, but throughout the world the artists themselves record songs written by other persons.

“The songwriter gets his compensation in those situations.  Under our law the artist does not get it and neither does the producer and it’s the closing of that loophole that we are trying to accomplish.”

A round-table discussion has been scheduled for November 17 at the British Colonial Hilton where a number of panelists, including the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Charles Maynard, will discuss the copyright law and other issues concerning Bahamian artists.

The local artists are being supported in their efforts by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which represents the recording industry worldwide.

“Mr. Juan Marturet is here representing the IFPI and he is here to try and secure more sensitization of persons in the music and entertainment industry with regard to the issue of copyright,” Pindling said.

Marturet, who is the director of legal and business affairs at IFPI, said, “What is happening is because of the lack of incentives in this sector of Bahamian culture, [artists have] been moving to other countries where they may find those incentives and make a decent living out of their music productions.”

He said that the IFPI is encouraging every country in Latin America and the Caribbean region to update their copyright legislation.

“We forget that behind music creativity our countries may have an industry, a whole sector creating jobs,” Marturet said.

“More investment in the music sector may attract more people to The Bahamas and make The Bahamas more recognizable, not just for tourism but also because of the music culture.”

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