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New music rights agency launched

Saturday, December 17 2011

Performers and producers can now reap the rewards of their hard work. And from now on, music users will have to clear related rights/neighbouring rights by paying licence fees to the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Producers and Performers (TAPPs), for the sound recordings they use because according to TAPPs, performers and producers are entitled to be remunerated for the use of their work.

TAPP was launched on Wednesday at NALIS Audio Visual Room in Port-of-Spain, with a mandate to legally administer related rights in this country. Related rights, also known as neighbouring rights, are rights that exist in recorded music and owned invariably by the executive producers and the performers of musical works.

According to TAPPs General Manager, David Bereaux, music administration in this country has been tarnished by a lack of structure. He said while the major industry players have dealt with their issues, there is still some uncertainty regarding which aspect of music is being administered or which rights are being taken care of. He noted that there are several different rights in music and while copyright is most popularly known, when music is recorded, copyright co-exists with another right – related rights.

Bereaux explained: “While copyright is the property of the composers, authors and publishers, related right is the property of the executive producers and the performers on sound recordings.

By performers, I am referring to all performers including the backing vocalists and musicians. Therefore, in recorded music there are two rights that must be administered, copyright and related rights.” Bereaux said until now, must music users clear only the copyright by paying licence fess to Copyright Organisation of Trinidad and Tobago (COTT).

“From now on,” Bereaux said, “recorded music users will also have to clear related/neighbouring rights by paying licence fees to TAPPs for the executive producers and performers on the sound recordings they use. He went on to explain that recorded music is used in radio and television broadcasts, in restaurants and bars, hotels, shops and stores, at concerts and at a range of events. He said not only will producers and performers reap benefits from their recording work, but also from performances in foreign territories, through reciprocal agreements with other international societies.

Meanwhile, TAPP’s Chairperson, Dionne Mc Nichol Stephenson said there are socioeconomic benefits of the recognition and enforcement of related rights for producers and performers.

She said although this country boasts of almost 100 years of recorded music, little attention has been placed on financial returns. Mc Nichol Stephenson said: “We have seen our countrymen lauded and applauded for the music they have given to the world through almost 100 years of recorded history. Regrettably this country has not paid close attention to returns financial or otherwise,” she said.

Mc Nichol Stephenson it is right that every performer and producer benefit from their creative and physical energy. “We are incredibly blessed with talent as a nation and we have spent millions of dollars to create our very own University of Trinidad and Tobago which houses the Academy for Performing Arts and the University of the West Indies caries a Creative Arts Department, so we are teaching and training our children to be musicians, dancers, actors, producers and creative entrepreneurs; likewise then must provide the platform for them to benefit from their endeavors,” Mc Nichol Stephenson said.

TAAPs Board of Directors include Dionne Mc Nicol-Stephenson Alvin Daniell (secretary/treasurer) Morel Peters (performer member) Vishnu Balroop (producer/member), Bereaux and the International Federation of the Phonographic industry (IFPI). Performers and Producers can register for free by contacting 479-2221 or 325-9325 or via the website www.tappstnt.com.

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