IP and Carnival

Jan 13, 2015

Use of Copyrighted Music at Carnival Events

The Ministry of Legal Affairs, through its Intellectual Property Office, reminds all event promoters that permission must be obtained to use copyrighted musical works at Carnival and other events.

Such permission must be obtained from the respective Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) that are appointed by the owners of these works to administer the licensing of rights, collection of royalties and reinforcement of rights on their behalf. Event promoters should be aware that each CMO represents the works of different artistes. As such, a licence must be obtained from each CMO representing each artiste’s works to be used at an event.

Event promoters bear the responsibility to determine which CMO represents the musical works to be used. It should also be borne in mind that situations will exist where a licence may be required to cover traditional author/composer rights and another licence required for the rights of performers and the producers of sound recordings (under neighbouring rights). A promoter may have to make adjustments to ensure that multiple CMOs are paid. This situation is not unique to Trinidad and Tobago as many other countries have multiple CMOs for musical works.

Event promoters are reminded that unauthorised use of copyrighted works is considered a copyright infringement under the Copyright Act of Trinidad and Tobago. For further information on copyright issues and other intellectual property matters, please contact us.

Please ensure to check out this report on Collective Management of Copyright and Related Rights.





Copyright © Intellectual Property Office 2016.
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.