Entertainment

Trademark Jamaican reggae

Call to protect and preserve authentic music brand

By Basil Walters Observer writer waltersb@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, October 01, 2012    

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VICE-CHAIRMAN of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) Charles Campbell, says it is imperative to establish a trademark for Jamaican reggae.

According to Campbell, this will help protect, preserve and promote the authentic brand for it to maintain competitiveness globally.

Campbell made these observations recently during a workshop on management of copyright staged jointly by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO).

It took place at the Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts in St Andrew.

"Reggae is now such a big product that everybody wants to claim it. So we are at the point where we can no longer honestly claim to be the headquarters of reggae," Campbell said.

"We have to ensure that the record is set straight and Jamaica is recognised as the birthplace of reggae," he added.

Campbell told his audience that in Europe, there are hundreds of thriving ska bands while there are only two in Jamaica, and they are struggling to survive.

"But what is interesting is... the European bands now have token musicians touring with the band. So they can give the illusion to the marketplace that this is authentic reggae," he explained.

"But what is interesting is... the European bands now have token musicians touring with the band. So they can give the illusion to the marketplace that this is authentic reggae," he explained.

Campbell, who writes a column for the Jamaica Observer, pointed to another concern. That of trying to recoup Jamaican music catalogues now owned by French and Japanese interests.

He said these issues can be addressed once those involved in the music industry get serious about them.

"JaRIA is membership driven and I must say honestly, as a criticism, I haven't seen many of these faces at our monthly meetings. And so, we can't just be musicians, we can't just be promoters," he said. "We need to not just know about our business, we need to be actively involved in the decision-making process."

Some members of the audience differed with Campbell.

Singer Imara was not comfortable with his statement that "France is now the capital of reggae."

"As a practitioner inna this business, this is I and I thing. It burn my heart fi wi siddung inside yah soh and hear sey France is now the reggae capital. Is like wi surrender what wi have at all time to those who come in and say 'this is mine'."

A man describing himself as an aspiring producer was even more direct.

"I did not understand Charles (Campbell). It didn't make sense to me, to try and limit the exposure of reggae to the rest of the world. If the Chinese, and Japanese and the French want to the play the music, I think is a benefit to us. Because Jamaica is a small pond as it relates to reggae," he said.

Executive director of JIPO, Carol Simpson, said.

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