Creative Industry Being Positioned to Generate Jobs and Economic Growth

Industry, Investment, and Commerce Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton, says the Government is moving to position Jamaica’s creative industry, to generate jobs and economic growth.

Chief among the undertakings to this end, which he says are designed to better streamline the sector’s activities, are amendments to the Copyright Act, which were passed by the Houses of Parliament, in June.

These will, among other things, extend the copyright term for the creative industry, comprising the film, music, fashion, animation, and cultural sub-sectors, from 50 to 95 years.

“The creative industry represents an important pillar of the country’s growth agenda, and we are committed to supporting its growth and development through action. This is an area in which we have a strong competitive advantage” he argued, while speaking at a forum marking the 21st commemoration of International Reggae Day, on July 1, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston.

Meanwhile, Mr. Hylton said work on amendments to the Trademark Act is far advanced.

The Act is seeks to protect the country name ‘Jamaica’ from use by foreign businesses, trademarks, and domain names, not originating locally.

“The amendment will allow for the registration of trademarks in multiple countries through one centralized application procedure” the Minister stated.

Additionally, Mr. Hylton said the Government is seeking formal recognition by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) of Reggae, as an intangible cultural heritage.

This, he explained, will better enable the country to maintain control over the definition, recognition, and identification of this indigenous musical genre.

Mr. Hylton said that, in so doing, it is expected that the resulting derivable benefits generated, such earnings and trademarks royalties, will be safeguarded and retained in Jamaica

“Reggae forms part of the heart and soul of Jamaica…we have and continue to share our story and our culture with the world. However, even as we continue to share our music with the world, this creative industry must be protected and better monetized” he said.

Mr. Hylton informed that Jamaica is also seeking to become compliant with the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Marrakesh Treaty.

This agreement aims to facilitate persons who are physically challenged with access to published works.

“All this work… must be seen in the context of the Government’s policy to foster broad based economic growth and job creation. We are committed to taking the necessary steps that will be beneficial to our ‘creatives’, including musicians and innovators” Mr. Hylton stated.

Founder and organizer of International Reggae Day, Andrea Davis, said this year’s forum focused on facilitating dialogue among various industry stakeholders, to determine Jamaica’s policy direction for Reggae.

“We are looking at the competitive advantage we have, and the opportunities we have to increase that competitive advantage; because we are the architects of a global sound and we need to ensure that our share of international Jamaican music markets remain a strong one,” she said

In pointing to noticeable “shrinking shares” in the resulting benefits from Reggae, for Jamaica, Ms. Davis said the stakeholder engagements “is an effort to open a dialogue, create a networking opportunity, highlight some best practices, and begin to retool how Jamaica moves into the 21stcentury with this industry.”

This year’s commemoration of International Reggae Day in Jamaica, under the theme ‘Securing Jamaica’s Competitive Advantage in the Global Market’, coincided with celebrations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and New York in the United States, and Honolulu, Hawaii; Bombay, India; London, England; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Mexico City, Mexico; and Madrid, Spain.

Published Date: 
Monday, July 6, 2015