The St. Kitts Nevis National Carnival Committee’s (SKNNCC) Decision on the Intellectual Property Rights

Monday 3rd, October, 2016 (St. Kitts and Nevis) –

The St. Kitts Nevis National Carnival Committee (SKNNCC), in its attempt to further educate local Artistes participating in National Carnival, on the yin and yang of Intellectual Property Rights Violations, recently introduced what is labeled Article 6. The Article’s second intent is to protect all entities from possible lawsuits as they relate to an Artiste sampling another entity’s music, lyrics, or melodies without the expressed permission from the rightful owner. Article 6 was included in the Rules and Regulations that govern Calypso, Soca, and Bands competing in Road March and its related contests, e.g., Best Sounding Bands.

To document evidence of the Carnival Committee’s efforts to educate and protect Artistes, its willingness to be flexible, and its commitment to include stakeholders in its decision making processes, the Committee hosted several meetings, at which Article 6 was tabled and discussed.

The first meeting was held on Thursday September 22nd, for Soca Artistes, then on Tuesday September 27th, with Calypsonians. On Saturday October 1st, the Committee hosted teleconferences with 4 of the 5 local Bands that have registered for this year’s Band competitions. One band could not be contacted at that time. The four Bands contacted were also advised of the intentions of Article 6.

The SKNNCC has now completed the requirements of Phase 1 of its Artiste Sensitivity Program regarding Intellectual Property Rights.

As explained during each discussion, an independent Panel of not less than 5 individuals will review the lyrics, music and melody of compositions submitted. As per the requests of Calypsonians, Article 6 will not be applied to the Calypso competition.

As done normally, The SKNNCC will formally oversee Eliminations thru Finals of the Calypso and Soca Competitions. At each stage, an indemnity clause will be inserted to address Intellectual Property Rights Violations. This will also be done for Band competitions.

The SKNNCC uses this medium to thank all Calypsonians, Soca Artistes, and Bands who provided us with their substantive viewpoints. We are grateful for your attendance at the meetings, which helped to concretize the process. Further, we thank the many media houses that provided National, Regional, and International forums that permitted additional debate, discourse and dialogue on the matter. Your contributions are invaluable to us. You too have allowed the genuine efforts of the SKNNCC to be publicized by providing such avenues for Public Consultation. Also, to those who commented on platforms such as Facebook, we thank you for your input.

Phase II of our Artiste Sensitivity Program will be rolled out during October. The Soca Competition Sub Committee will host a Seminar on Intellectual Property Rights, Artiste Registry and Copyrighting Intellectual Property, and the ramifications of related violations, for Soca Artists and Bands. Said Seminar will also be held for Calypsonians. Again, this is evidence that the SKNNCC is committed to the holistic development of all Artistes and is not in any way, attempting to censor the lyrical content of calypsos, or restrict the creativity of our local Calypsonains.

We look forward to hosting Sugar Mas 45 and as we do so, we welcome all feedback, suggestions and input.

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