Rights holders such as authors, performers, composers and artists appoint an organization to act on their behalf to manage their rights. It simplifies the licensing system for the use of works and the organization generally monitors the works created for the purpose of collecting revenue on the behalf of its members.
Right holders and Users therefore do not have to pursue the creators to license works. The organization manages the rights.
Collective Management Organisations or CMOs for short, are non-profit organizations which are formed for the purpose of managing the rights of the rights holder members they represent. These Societies:
• Monitor the use of works;
• Negotiate the terms and conditions of licences with users;
• Issue licenses in return for appropriate remuneration;
• Collect royalties gained from the national and international use of a work or performance;
• Distribute royalties to its members;
• Fight against piracy.
When persons wish to use the works of others, e.g. songs by Soca artists to be played in a public place for a fete or a truck on the road, then a license to use the work is required. Instead of the event organiser tracking down the various rights holders: song writers, composers, performers etc, to license their rights, the individual goes to the relevant organization and obtains a license for the use of the music/performance etc.
If persons utilize works, e.g. playing of music, in a public place without the permission of the right holder, then it is an unauthorized use of the work. This unauthorized use of the work is an offence under the Copyright Act of Trinidad and Tobago. Obtaining a license from the relevant CMO, means that as an event planner, you have received the relevant permission to use the work. If the license is not obtained, an injunction can be sought to stop the event planned, or if the event takes place, monies earned can be subject to licensing fees and damages.
According to the Copyright Act, if disputes arise between persons and CMOs regarding licensing, the matter can be referred to the Court.
Please note: The Intellectual Property Office is not a collecting organization. CMOs manage the private rights of the rights holder members.