IP and Carnival

Feb 21, 2014

1.    What is Collective Management?

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.

2.    Functions of Collective Management Organisations (CMOs):

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.

3.    How does Collective Management impact the Carnival Industry?

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.

4.    Implications of not utilizing the licences offered by CMOs.

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.

5.    Should you have a dispute with the CMO with regard to licenses, is there recourse?

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.





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All rights reserved.

Criminal penalties for Intellectual Property Rights Infringement


Maximum Penalty (TT Dollars)

Copyright and Related Rights incl. databases

$250,000.00 or ten years imprisonment (summary conviction)

Topography of Integrated Circuits

$10,000.00 or 5 years imprisonment (summary conviction)

Trade Mark (incl. company names represented in a special or particular manner)

$10,000.00 or 6 months imprisonment (summary conviction); $40,000.00 or 10 years imprisonment (indictment)

Industrial Design

$10,000.00 or ten years imprisonment (summary conviction)

Patent and Utility Model

$10,000.00 (summary conviction).

Falsification of patent register: $20,000.00 (summary conviction) or $40,000.00 or ten years imprisonment (indictment)

Geographical Indications

$8,000.00 or three years imprisonment (summary conviction)

Plant Variety

$10,000.00 (summary conviction)

Unauthorised claim of patent rights

$10,000.00 (summary conviction)

Unauthorised claim that a patent has been applied for

$10,000.00 (summary conviction)


The Copyright Infringement Ship

Piracy Ship

Click here to download image.



Piracy occurs when any of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights are violated.

Note 14 of the TRIPS Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) provides the following interpretation:

(a) “counterfeit trademark goods” shall mean any goods, including packaging, bearing without authorization a trademark which is identical to the trademark validly registered in respect of such goods, or which cannot be distinguished in its essential aspects from such a trademark, and which thereby infringes the rights of the owner of the trademark in question under the law of the country of importation;

(b) “pirated copyright goods” shall mean any goods which are copies made without the consent of the right holder or person duly authorized by the right holder in the country of production and which are made directly or indirectly from an article where the making of that copy would have constituted an infringement of a copyright or a related right under the law of the country of importation.

The maximum penalty for copyright infringement is $250,000 or ten years imprisonment. The above pirate ship illustrates some common examples of piracy.