Musicians urged to act responsibly

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, October 12, 2017

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THE country's musicians are being charged to comply with the stipulations of the Legal Deposit Act.

This act requires publishers to deposit copies of their work with the National Library of Jamaica (NLJ) within two months of publication.

The latest call has come from head of the Department of Collections at the NLJ, Monique Forgie-Scott. She was addressing guests at the launch of Legal Deposit Month at the downtown Kingston-based library yesterday.

Forgie-Scott singled out the music industry, which for her, forms the lion's share of the local creative industry but falls short on compliance.

“Although we have marginal compliance from players in the print media, many persons, especially those in the audiovisual creative industries, are unaware of the act. Others who are aware of the act give varied reasons for non-compliance, the main one being loss of their creative rights. I am making a special appeal today to persons in the music industry. Our music is a large part of our heritage, a large part of our culture and it too must be preserved so that current and future generations of researchers can explore its beginnings and the development of the music throughout the years. We need all hands on board, filmmakers, artistes, producers, writers, authors, whatever name you may go by, please ensure that your work is deposited with the National Library of Jamaica. Help us to help you preserve your legacy,” she stressed.

She also reassured that the NLJ is mandated to make contact with the owner of the work if someone wishes to consult the work other than for the purpose of research for such permission to be granted.

Culture and Entertainment Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange reiterated the call for compliance from the local creative community, noting she was moving to stiffen the fines for non-compliance.

“Artistes of all respects, you should make an effort to make your legal deposits of your work. Any national publisher who fails to comply with the regulations of the act commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction before a resident magistrate to a fine not exceeding $50,000, and I am tempted to go and ask for the law to be amended to say not less than $50,000. This is in your interest, in particular the archiving of audio recordings and film is critical to the development of our creative industries. Housing such a collection in one central space encourages scholarship and ensures historical accuracy,” said Grange.

At yesterday's event, a number of artistes made legal deposits. They included Carlene Davis, who handed over a vinyl copy of her very first album Paradise, which was recorded in 1984. She also presented a copy of her anti-apartheid hit single Winnie Mandela to the NLJ. Artistes Makonnen, Iyah Gift, and Garnett Silk Jr also made deposits of their work.

Writers Maxie Hayles, Natalie Corthesy, and Barbara Blake Hannah also deposited.

The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission also made a deposit to the collection of the NLJ.

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