The T&T Copyright Collection Organisation (TTCO) claims the National Carnival Commission (NCC) owes it close to $1 million in license fees for works of mas under the Copyright Act of T&T and wants the body to pay up.
The claim was made by TTCO CEO Nigel Trancoso at a news conference at the Couva-Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce at Camden Road, Couva, yesterday. Trancoso, who joined the TTCO in February, said the NCC had not paid any license fees to TTCO for 2018 and 2019. He said the TTCO collects royalties for works of mas for the mas bands and ther body also represented the T&T Carnival Bands’ Association.
Trancoso said a percentage of the royalties they collect are paid to the mas bands, noting the debt cannot be written off since the monies belong to the right holders.
“What we intend to do is to try the most diplomatic means with the NCC and with whoever maybe at the helm, to find out why firstly this money has not been paid and how long it will take for them to pay it. We have a date set that will be a cut off date and then we may take some other drastic means,” Trancoso said.
“We have already spoken with some of our attorneys but we do not wish to go that way to be quite frankly. I think this matter could be settled amicably because it is clear you have used the rights of our members, it must be paid for.”
Trancoso said his next step is to contact the relevant Government minister.
Regarding the issue of neighbouring rights, he said TTCO has represented the neighbouring rights of performers and producers since 2002. He said the body is the only copyright management organisation that has collected and paid neighbouring rights since 2002.
He said other copyright bodies represent the author-composer and the publisher, adding a recent article published in the daily newspapers erroneously claimed that the Copyright Collection Organisation of T&T was the only body collecting neighbouring rights.
Contacted the issue yesterday, however, NCC chairman Winston “Gypsy” Peter said he did not know about any payments owed to the TTCO.
Reporter: Shastri Boodan