Devin Di Dakta and producer Romario English of British Linkz Give weighs in on the issue of illegal parties and royalty distribution in the industry.
Key players of Jamaica’s music fraternity, including entertainers, selectors, promoters, caterers, and the regular peanut or pan-chicken seller, have put on a good fight against the lockdown of Jamaica’s entertainment sector but to no avail. Most entities and sectors are allowed to be operational during the daytime. Though more relaxed, the country is still seeing a grip on the official eradication of curfews that were imposed to limit the spread of Covid-19.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness recently motioned for curfews to run from 11 PM to 5 AM. Still, the need for entertainment and earnings, following a near 2 year-long hiatus as prevailed, which means the hosting of events without official consent from law enforcement or proper earnings for the playing of recorded music at these events.
Lydia Rose, manager of Jamaican collective management organization, Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers (JACAP), and chair for the management committee of the Association of Caribbean Copyright Societies (ACCS), has taken a stance against illegal parties. During an editorial piece published in the Jamaican Observer on February 13, 2022, Rose highlighted the negative effects of illegal parties on the earning potential for copyright holders of people played at these events.
Jamaican copyright laws, which were last revised in 2015, give intellectual property owners the right to distribute the works as deemed fit by them, usually with the intent of earning from their compositions. Bodies such as JACAP, Jamaica Music Society JAMMS, and Jamaican Copyright Licensing Agency JAMCOPY have been developed to help copyright owners earn the most from their work by licensing the use of their content locally and internationally. Over the past two years, these entities have remained relatively dormant for local use as they await the green light from the government on the hosting of events.
Urban Islandz caught up with Jamaican recording artiste Devin Di Dakta and producer Romario English of British Linkz as they ready the release of tracks on the new Channel 28 Riddim compilation.
“If we are going to talk about illegal parties breaching copyright laws, are we going to talk about all the supermarkets, pubs, bars, shops, stores, coffee shops, restaurants and ALL other places that music is being played publicly? Are those places being properly administered in terms of paying licensing fee to broadcast music?,” Devin said as he explained his take recorded music being played at illegal events.
While not condemning any movement to stop illegal events from being held, the “Caribbean Dolly” singer believes that the judgement should be handed down to all those in breach of the copyright act.
“Don’t mention copyright laws being breached because we’d then have to to shut down 90% of business places that play music daily and nightly. And if we are going to go further, I won’t call any name, but can we get an update about the MAJOR radio station that should be in court by now for the same thing?” Devin queried.
“Over 20 Cases in Supreme Court with over $50 Million in outstanding royalties. So since we’re going to talk about Copyright Laws, let’s talk about EVERYTHING and don’t single out youths who are trying to stay alive during this time,” the singer continued.
In 2020, Rose outed popular media houses IRIE FM and CVM TV for unpaid royalties.
“One company alone owes us $35 million and counting, and that is IRIE FM. Their problem is that they want to pay what they feel to pay and don’t want to abide by the tariff that other radio stations are paying,” she had disclosed to the Jamaican Gleaner.
The government of Jamaica has intended at a possible reopening of the sector in the near future, vowing never to go back to a full-scale lockdown to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus and its substrates. Instead, a comprehensive vaccination mandate has become the go-to measure, coupled with widespread education on the importance of social distancing among other sanitary practices, for the curb of the virus.
Devin Di Dakta, much many other entertainers, feel the best bet is to reopen the sector.
“Free up entertainment and make sure when issuing event permits, all of these licencing fees are included in the package ALL promoters should pay BEFORE event can go on. Dweet right and done. Right across the board, Uptown, Downtown & Midtown,” he urged.
English hopes is that as the powers that be buckle down to figure out the best course of action, “all parties will mutually benefit financially and culturally since everyone deserves to earn from their hard work.”
Devin Di Dakta dropped off his Freshman EP in the latter parts of 2021 but is still gearing up to drop new music. He will join a list inclusive of Jae Prynse, Knaxx, Kacique, Deeclef, and Xx3eme on the official release of the Channel 28 Riddim by British Linkz, set to hit shelves on March 04.