Jan 13, 2020 News
Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall says that the people’s Progressive Party (PPP) is unaware that it violated any laws in its use of music from two songs by Trinidad Soca artist, Farmer Nappy during its elections campaign.
In a January 08 report in the Trinidad Express, Country Life Music, Ltd, the label which represented Farmer Nappy, who was born Darryl Henry, signaled its intention of filing legal action against the PPP for using two of the singer’s songs without permission.
When contacted yesterday, Nandlall said that he is aware of the accusations. However, he said that the party is not in receipt of any correspondent from the singer’s lawyer. Nandlall said that if and when any such documentation is received, the party will address it and take the appropriate steps.
In the meantime, he said that the songs are still being used on the party’s campaign promotion.
The Trinidad Express reported that it contacted Henry’s manager, Katrina Chandler and she said, “Yes, we are taking legal action for both songs, ‘Hookin’ Meh’ and ‘So Long’, off the Purple Heart Riddim.”
The newspaper reported that while Nadia Batson wrote the song “So Long”, Henry’s name is attached to it as he owns part of the master recording for the song.
Farmer Nappy was recently in Guyana to perform at the launch of the elections campaign for the coalition government at D’Urban Park, Georgetown.
He also did a campaign jingle for the Coalition for which he was paid, the Trinidad Express reported. It was during his stay here that the Trinidad Express stated that Farmer Nappy found out that his songs were being used without his approval.
Farmer Nappy’s manager further told the Trinidad Express, “The PPP illegally used ‘Hookin’ Meh’ and ‘So Long’. We wrote it and they (the party) had someone else sing it. They used the entire Purple Heart Riddim, which is owned by Country Life Music Ltd.”
There are reports that a local soca artist reworked the songs even though he was cautioned about copyright infringements.
Kaieteur News was informed that while Guyana does not have updated copyright laws as its own dates back to 1956, copyright laws exit within the common law precedents. Trinidad, on the other hand, has the Copy Right (Amendment) Act of 2008. The act gives creators of work the copyright and legal rights and ownership of their work.
There have been many calls for Guyana to update its archaic laws in that regard.
In April 2018, the Department of Public Information (DPI) reported that steps were being made to update the country’s draft legislation which was prepared in 2005. However, later that year, PPP, through its General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo, said that it was not in support of government’s move to update these laws. Then, Jagdeo had said that Guyana is a poor developing country, and that the laws should be updated in the future when persons can afford to pay for copyrighted items.
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