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JAMCOPY distributes $28.5m in royalty payments

Thursday, December 11, 2014

THE Jamaica Copyright Licensing Agency (JAMCOPY) has increased its royalty distribution this year by just over $4 million resulting in its highest ever disbursement of $28.5 million.

The ninth royalty disbursement which started on Monday will be paid out throughout this week to 437 Jamaican creators and 36 publishers including writers, poets, songwriters, composers, artists, publishers of book, magazines and other periodicals.

The money represents proceeds from licence fees collected by the agency from the Government and tertiary institutions for photocopying and digital use.

In a symbolic presentation ceremony at JAMCOPY's Ruthven Road offices in Kingston yesterday general manager of the organisation Carol Newman expressed pride at the strides the company has made since it first started its distribution in 2005.

"The first distribution of royalties was back in 2005 and at that time a mere $545,956 was distributed to nine publishers and 37 creators," she said. Also of note is that since 2005 a total of $93.3 million has been paid out by JAMCOPY and of this amount $64 million has remained in Jamaica with the balance going to rightsholders in the USA and UK," Newman added.

She also explained that over the last 10 years $8 million has been paid out to 11 Jamaican authors including Jamaica's Poet Laureate Professor Mervyn Morris whose works have been copied in the UK, USA and Canada.

"It is also most important to note that in addition to individual authors who are still alive and with us benefiting from the payments, the estate of some others who are deceased have also been reaping the benefits," Newman said, citing persons such as the late Sir Phillip Sherlock and Noel Vaz.

In this regard, she appealed to creators with published work to become affiliated with JAMCOPY as it is an international network with tremendous benefits.

In the meanwhile, she noted that as of next year the entity will be providing licensing solutions which will make it easy for business and corporations
to manage copyrights compliance efficiently.

Newman explained that "these solutions incorporate facilitating access to and allowing users in these organisations to reuse and share content within the organisation and across national borders".

The offering will also include awareness building programmes that enable organisations and individuals to maximise returns from creativity and innovation and will be launched in the first quarter of 2015.

JAMCOPY board chair Mark Thomas lauded the organisation and its board members on the progress the organisation has made since its inception.

"We are very happy that every year since we started in 2005, we have been able to increase the amount. We started with a little over half a million dollars and now we are at $28.5 million so we have come a long long way," he said.