Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 21st 2014 Contents A5
Friday, February 21, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The Copyright Organisation of
T&T (COTT) is threatening legal
action against the promoters of seven
Carnival fetes, scheduled over the
next two weeks, for failing to pay
copyright licence fees.
The organisation, through its attor-
ney Dave McKenzie, yesterday sent
pre-action protocol letters warning the
promoters it would seek High Court
injunctions to stop the events if the
fees were not paid.
McKenzie also referred to Section
41 (3) of the Copyright Act, saying fete
promoters and the owners of the ven-
ues may be liable to a $250,000 fine
and ten years' imprisonment if they
are convicted of hosting the events
without a copyright licence.
COTT confirmed that its represen-
tatives were engaged in discussions
with some of the seven promoters over
the issue, but said no agreements had
been made up to late yesterday.
Five of the fetes are carded to take
place this weekend, while the others
are advertised for next Sunday.
The legal letter mirrors another sent
almost three weeks ago to the Soaka
Till Sunrise promoters. COTT did not
follow through with that legal threat
after the fete's promoter, WOW Event,
came to an agreement with them.
In a telephone interview yesterday,
Michael Sealy, of Misty Ridge Events,
which is hosting three of the parties
under threat, said he would not be
paying COTT as they had already
secured a licence from another regis-
tered copyright company.
"As promoters we are legally required
to obtain a copyright licence from one
of the registered companies. The leg-
islation never said that we must take
one from COTT," Sealy said.
"No judge in any competent court
would grant any injunction. We have
satisfied our legal requirements."
Sealy said his organisation had
already consulted with its attorneys
and was not fearful of COTT's legal
letter. He described COTT's actions as
"bullying" and questioned the timing
of its letters, which he said were usually
only issued days before an event was
to be held.
Shawn Anton, promoter for Double
Up, another of the affected fetes, said
he had not spoken to his attorneys and
would issue a statement today.
COTT doing its job
Contacted yesterday, COTT com-
munication officer Adanna Asson
defended its position on the issue.
"We are clearly ensuring that we
collect the royalties that are supposed
to be paid to our members. It is our
mandate to collect on their behalf,"
She said promoters should obtain
licences from her organisation, as it
held the rights for "90 per cent of
authors and composers in T&T" and
was also internationally accredited.
Asson said while its competitor, the
T&T Copyright Organisation (TTCO),
has the right to issue copyright licences
for live performances, COTT dealt
specifically with authors and com-
posers, who were sometimes over-
Artist LeRoy Clarke has
slammed the Government for its
belated decision to award the
Mighty Sparrow, Slinger Francisco,
the Order of the Republic of T&T,
saying it was only after the calypso
king of the world almost died that
its hand was forced.
Speaking hours after Prime Min-
ister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
announced that Sparrow would
receive the country's highest award
and that they would foot his US
medical bills, Clarke said it was a
shame it had to take his recent seri-
ous illness for the authorities to
"We have to wait until Sparrow
dead and come back alive to give
him an award," Clarke said at his
book launch at the National Library,
Port-of-Spain, on Wednesday.
"You see the point? He should
die first and come back. Maybe I
should fake it and go into a coma.
Stop patronising me, man, stop it,"
Sparrow, 78, spent several weeks
in a New York hospital after he fell
into a diabetic coma after a stroke
He returned home last week after
his recovery and immediately made
it known that while In T&T for
Carnival, he would seek to make
appearances at events in order to
help pay off his hefty medical bills.
Camboulay Productions, whose
media partner is Guardian Media
Ltd, had launched a five-part lecture
series in part to raise funds to assist
him with those medical expenses
before the PM announced the Gov-
ernment's intention to honour Spar-
row. The group was seeking to raise
at least $100,000.
Speaking after Gopeesingh and
Rowley, Clarke said he had to live
a rough life and accused the Gov-
ernment of paying lip service to the
Quoting the names of his books,
Clarke said the people of the coun-
try were living in joyless days as
they went about their business
seemingly without any soul.
"Get up, wake up to the parables
of our joyless days. These are joyless
days," he added.
He used derogatory language to
describe the state of life for artistes
and other citizens in the country
and accused the politicians of not
meaning what they said.
He also spoke about the amount
of money being spent on cultural
ambassador and soca star Machel
Montano, adding young people have
so much energy but have nowhere
"Where are they going to go if
Machel Montano is the symbol of
success. Come on, if he is the sym-
bol of success, where are they going?
"He is an ambassador to fly free.
I am not against him, you know.
The poor little fellow, he is (being)
used. Why you don't send men who
have voices, who when they sit
down they have a voice identical
to the beauty, discriminating beauty
of this place?" he asked.
Clarke claimed artists were not
being allowed on radio and televi-
sion stations to speak about their
Another ailing artiste, Ella Andall,
had given so much and now that
she was ill, he said, there was no
one to assist her.
His own life, he said, was saved
by musician Ataklan and his girl-
friend, who visited him at his home
weeks ago as his blood pressure was
very high and he was unaware of
it at the time.
Clarke said homosexuality was
a major threat to art and predicted
that before the end of 2014 there
would be a same-sex marriage in
Weston Rawlins, better known in
the calypso world as Cro Cro, says
while it is good the country plans
to recognise the Mighty Sparrow
(Slinger Francisco) with the nation s
highest award, Government also
needs to pay attention to the calypso
"I want to say, most important,
how happy I am for Sparrow to be
given whatever... but it so sick, in
that Sparrow sang with the Icons
Calypso tent from the inception," he
said yesterday at Kaiso House, Port-
of-Spain, during the draw for tomor-
row's Calypso Fiesta at Skinner Park.
"So while they saying Oh Sparrow'
and giving Sparrow thing, they licking
up the artform."
He said it was not enough for the
Government to "fix" Sparrow only.
"You supposed to fix the artform
also," he said, adding again that he
was happy for Sparrow, whom he
described as a good friend.
He asked why every other tent was
being funded by the Government
except for his Icons tent.
When asked about the timing for
Sparrow's award, Rawlins said it did
"I'm just happ... what I heard is
they really treating Sparrow finan-
cially good and he needs that."
He said in Sparrow's time, the first
prize for competitions was not as
high as it is today.
"Now chutney making $2 million,
kaiso singing for $1 (million), right?"
Cro Cro drew position 28 yesterday
and he promised his performance at
the Calypso Fiesta will be "thunder."
Also speaking on the issue, Trin-
bago Unified Calypsonians' Organ-
isation (Tuco) president Lutalo
Masimba said it was a great moment
for the organisation as they had been
lobbying for the past decade for Spar-
row to be given the highest national
"We say congratulations to the
Government. The state of T&T has
finally seen the light," he added.
See Page A7
COTT threatens to shut
down 7 Carnival fetes
This weekend: Misty Ridge Xcite,
Misty Ridge Premium all-inclusive,
Fatima Old Boys Association Re-
Boot, Wanted and Soca by the
Carnival Sunday: Shades
Breakfast Party and Double Up
Cro Cro on Sparrow's award:
Govt must also fix calypso
Sparrow's 'late' award upsets Clarke
Paramin-based devil mas band "Rhapsody in Blue" make their way to the stage during the St James Traditional
Carnival Competition at the St James Amphitheatre on Wednesday night. PHOTO: MARIA NUNES
Among those in the audience for
the launch of Clarke's books, Parables
of our Joyless Days and Symmetries
of Words Made Flesh, were Education
Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh,
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley,
artist Earl Lovelace and former culture
minister Joan Yuille-Williams.
Gopeesingh, in his address, said the
75-year-old master artist, Clarke,
grows more valuable to T&T as he
produced new paintings and books.
He said Clarke "presents the society
with hard truth about itself, which
may not be easy to digest at times
but which is necessary to confront, if
we are to overcome the many
challenges we face."
Rowley also spoke favourably about
Clarke's contribution to T&T, describing
him as "the best that T&T can
produce." He said Clarke was "a
sobering intervention in my own life in
the political landscape."
PRAISE FOR THE CHIEF
our local artistes
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