St. Kitts And Nevis Modernises Copyright Law with Passage of Copyright Bill, 2024

Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): In a significant move towards enhancing the protection of intellectual property in St. Kitts and Nevis, the Copyright Bill, 2024, was successfully passed on Friday, May 10, 2024. This Bill, modernising the legal framework for copyright protection, supports the burgeoning orange economy and acknowledges the evolving digital landscape where creative outputs thrive.

The Honourable Garth Wilkin, Attorney General, led the debate and championed the Bill, which is poised to transform the landscape of copyright protection in the Federation.

“Growth in the orange economy is one of the seven pillars of the Government’s 2022 Sustainable Island State Development Agenda. Due to the Administration’s recognition that the overflowing talent and creativity that is here in St. Kitts and Nevis needs to be supported, this Bill was prioritised to ensure that creatives such as our musicians, choreographers, filmmakers, photographers and writers have the benefit of laws that support their dreams and efforts,” said Attorney General Wilkin. “Through public education, they can learn to govern their creative businesses and those of us who consume rather than create, we too will know what our limitations and obligations are in that regard.”

AG Wilkin said that this comprehensive legislation replaces the Copyright Act, Cap 18.08, enacted in 2000, and reflects over a decade of preparatory work and consultation with local and international stakeholders, including the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Eastern Caribbean Collective Organization for Music Rights (ECCO).

The Copyright Bill, 2024, introduces substantial enhancements to support the burgeoning orange economy, emphasising the government’s commitment to nurturing and protecting local creativity and innovation. This modernised legal framework will provide robust protection for creators across various media, including digital and audio-visual works, while ensuring that St. Kitts and Nevis aligns with international copyright standards.

Key features of the Bill include the removal of the requirement for works to be fixed to gain protection, thus recognising more fluid and temporary forms of creative expression. This change is critical in an era where digital creations and performances can be short-lived and not traditionally documented. Additionally, the Bill extends copyright protection from 50 to 70 years after the author’s death, significantly benefiting creators’ estates and aligning with global practices.

Furthermore, the Bill introduces specific provisions to manage copyrights in the digital environment, addressing current and emerging technologies such as internet streaming and digital reproduction. It also lays down a framework for collective management organisations, establishing clear guidelines and ensuring transparency and fairness in the administration of copyright revenues.

“This Bill is a testament to our commitment to fostering an environment where creativity is protected and rewarded. We are ensuring that our legal framework keeps pace with technological advancements and international standards, which is essential for the growth of our creative industries,” Attorney General Wilkin stated.

The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis expressed gratitude towards WIPO and Dr. Justin Koo, whose expertise was instrumental in the drafting and finalisation of this forward-thinking legislation.

AG Wilkin said as St. Kitts and Nevis prepares to accede to several international copyright treaties in July 2024, this Bill is not just a legislative achievement but a signal to the world that St. Kitts and Nevis values and protects intellectual property rights at the highest standards.

You might also like