…says copyright legislation will impact small businesses
Based on the announcement of Government’s intention to table copyright legislation, Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo has expressed worry over the impact this could have on the local economy as many businesses could possibly close as a result of the incoming change.
As such, the Opposition Leader recommends that the current Administration should focus on protecting the intellectual property of local producers.
Speaking at his weekly press conference on Thursday, Jagdeo explained that Guyanese artiste and writers have been lobbying for several years to protect their products from being copied and mass produced without their permission as many local producers cannot get royalties and earnings from their intellectual property.
Just last week, Government signaled that it will table legislation to bring copyright laws on the books but those opposed to the change say it could put undue burdens on local producers of DVDs and CDs and that it will drastically impact on the foreign movies and television programmes currently broadcasted on television.
Jagdeo weighed in on the issue at his press conference on Thursday, highlighting the economic impact this overhaul could have on local businesses.
“I hope that people will understand…It will be a revolution in the Guyana, I’m not going to say much more because this Government when it passes that next year, every video store in this country will have to close that sells these bootlegs. And every store that sells music now… the way they currently do it will have to shut those down too as well as the guys who are doing the push cart they can be charged too” Jagdeo revealed.
While acknowledging that some may be in disagreement with his position, he clarified that Government should place more emphasis on protecting local intellectual property rights rather than focusing on safeguarding international content.
“In many parts People don’t protect our people, our material, so we protect the copyrighted material for our local artiste etc and we have those enforced and removed from the shelves etc and then wait until the appropriate time because we are a poor developing country, wait until such time in the future that people can afford to pay” the Opposition Leader suggested.
There are currently small fines for copyright infringements under old laws. In fact, Guyana’s Trademark Act and Patents and Design Act were tabled in 1973, whilst the Copyright Act is dated 1956, decades before inter-connectivity was a basic part in the lives of many Guyanese in coastal and some hinterland areas. (Shemuel Fanfair)