The 2015 Jamaica Copyright Amendments – Major Changes

Author:Ms Dianne Daley
Profession:Foga Daley
 
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In 2015 sweeping changes were made to Jamaica's Copyright Act through the Copyright (Amendment) Act of 2015 in force July 30, 2015 including new and expanded rights for copyright owners and performers and with that, new liabilities, offences and exceptions to infringement and a revival of Crown Copyright. Perhaps, most impactful, is an extension of the already long duration of copyright. Some of the changes brought about by the amendments were gestating for over ten (10) years while others gained momentum in a relatively short space of time.

The Copyright (Amendment) Act of 2015 is the most substantial set of amendments since the 1993 Act. It brought into effect several major substantive & administrative changes including:

Extension of Duration of Copyright and Rights in Performances Express provisions on Ownership of Copyright and Crown Copyright New/expanded right for copyright owners New rights for Performers and Persons with Exclusive Recording Rights Offences for the circumvention of Technological Protection Measures (TPM) and altering of Rights Management Information (RMI). Liabilities & Exemptions for ISPs Exceptions for the Visually and Hearing Impaired New Provisions on Orphan Works Exceptions in relation to sound recordings Statutory Copyright Registration Regulation of Collecting Societies (Regulations still pending) Main Factors of Change

The WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (together known as the WIPO Internet Treaties (1996) to which Jamaica acceded in 2002) were the main catalysts for Jamaica's copyright amendments. However, the amendments seemed to take on 'a life of their own' particularly in the run up to the amendment Act. The result is that the Internet Treaties only account for a 'handful' of the amendments, namely the new/expanded rights for copyright owners, performers and persons with recording rights, liabilities/exemptions for ISPs and offences for circumvention and tampering with rights management information. Some provisions mandated by the Treaties were omitted from the 2015 amendments and are expected to be included in a subsequent amendment.

Extension of Term of Copyright

The extension of the term of copyright and related rights could be considered the flagship amendments of the 2015 Act. The Copyright Act of 1993 gave the minimum duration stipulated by the Berne Convention of life plus 50 years for works of authorship and 50 years for entrepreneurial works...

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