ECCO wins landmark court case

ECCO wins landmark court case

ECCO, the Eastern Caribbean Collective Organisation for music rights, has won a landmark case in the High Court against Mega Plex Entertainment which operates Caribbean Cinemas here.

In a civil suit, ECCO sued Mega Plex for copyright infringement and asked the court for damages.

On July 25,  2017, Justice Godfrey Smith ruled in favour of ECCO.

The Judge found that the cinema was  liable for infringing the rights of ECCO’s  members.

A second hearing  will address the matter of an assessment of damages.

ECCO’s  CEO, Steve Etienne, called the ruling a ‘great achievement for ECCO and the wider Caribbean.’

“We have long sought a judgement that we can refer to when taking action  against abusers of our rights – abusers of copyright,” Etienne said.

ECCO Chairman, Shayne Ross urged all users of music to obtain a licence from the organisation.

“We are not just going after people, what we are aiming to do  is to secure the rights for the creators of music because if those rights are not secured, then really and truly the business that we as creators are involved in  it makes it not worthwhile for us,” Ross said.

Caribbean Cinemas had not obtained a licence from ECCO before airing movies containing music sound tracks.

ECCO’s Legal Counsel, Thaddeus Antoine, declared that the judgement makes it clear that ECCO is entitled to represent foreign music owners.

“The significance of the judgement is that it helps other territories like Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Jamaica,” Antoine explained.

He disclosed that the case has been ongoing for some seven years, at one point being struck out but later being reinstated by the Court of Appeal.

“The cinema airs movies and in airing the movies there’s music within the movies and the music within the movies is owned by people and the people who own that music are persons represented by ECCO, so ECCO is entitled to a portion of the revenue for those movies being aired and the music being aired within those movies,” the Attorney at Law stated.

He said essentially the cinema was saying that ECCO does not control those rights which the cinema had obtained from another institution.

However Antoine said ECCO argued that it was the only legally recognised authority in Saint Lucia  to issue those rights  and the court agreed.

 

 

 

 

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21 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    July 29, 2017 at 3:14 pm Reply

    Look movie tickets price going up.thanks ecco

  2. Anonymous
    July 29, 2017 at 3:31 pm Reply

    So wait. Ecco claiming for foreign artistes too when movie creators already paid for rights to use these songs. Shut down the cinema

    1. Anonymous
      July 29, 2017 at 11:20 pm Reply

      I was thinking the same thing

  3. Anonymous
    July 29, 2017 at 4:15 pm Reply

    Just curious.
    When you have a party at home, or a little karaoke, you have to pay ECCO. Do the artistes get anything from this?

    1. Anonymous
      July 30, 2017 at 9:48 am Reply

      Supposedly. Any event you have you’re supposed to pay ecco rights

  4. The Hunted
    July 29, 2017 at 7:52 pm Reply

    ECCO are you’ll paying the foreign artist because to me the music is already paid for that’s why it’s attached to the movie. Boy I tell you we can’t enjoy nothing in this country. Shane Ross won’t be listening any of your music anymore you can take that to the bank…….

    1. Anonymous
      July 31, 2017 at 10:27 am Reply

      I have never been paid through ecco since I’ve been in St. Lucia.
      I’ve asked but have gotten a reasonable response. I belong to BMI
      Still waiting.

  5. Anonymous
    July 29, 2017 at 8:45 pm Reply

    We can’t enjoy anything anymore when ppl let their greed make decisions for them. The cinema now will either raise prices or eventually close down. I don’t see the significance of taking a cinema to court when they have already paid rights to play the movie. This is utter selfishness, greed and stupidity.

  6. Anonymous
    July 30, 2017 at 12:49 am Reply

    Shane one of these days this world will continue without many of us.
    Copy is a must and will be paid even when we are gone.
    Scakes SVG

    1. Anonymous
      July 30, 2017 at 3:44 am Reply

      Can you appeal an appeal?

      1. Stacy
        July 30, 2017 at 6:07 am Reply

        Yes u can…privy council

  7. Louisi
    July 30, 2017 at 5:50 am Reply

    It’s a travesty of justice, the court is wrong in that one. I agree with the previous comments , payments were made and rights received to use the music in the movie, why does ECCO want money on behalf of those persons again?

    1. Anonymous
      July 30, 2017 at 6:21 am Reply

      And funny enough there are no local songs in these movies. So local artistes and ECCO want to make money off other people’s hard work. Pure greed.

  8. FU Shane Ross
    July 30, 2017 at 7:24 am Reply

    If they are to be paid on the behalf of those foreign artists BIGGER question are those same artists part of ECCO and next question shane are you guys paying those artists? To be honest i knew i HATED you and your music but now i see why Antonie i admired your integrity now…..oh well its all about the “money” right? St.Lucia open your eyes to whats going on around you. Oh yes does this mean the foreign countries where those movies are made the cinemas are to be sued as well?

  9. tell them
    July 30, 2017 at 3:30 pm Reply

    that ECCO company is pure garbage and its all greed dirty

  10. Anonymous
    July 31, 2017 at 1:37 am Reply

    Movie companies already paid artistes for their songs to be in a movie. There are no local songs or regional artistes in most if not all of the films being played at the cinema. The cinema is not just playing the movies to make money themselves. A huge percentage goes back to the distributor which includes payments to artistes etc. Why claim from the cinema on behalf of these artistes? Are they members of ECCO? Does ECCO pay them what is collected on their behalf? How do we the public know? The cinema should close down to teach you greedy people a lesson. I am hoping the owner of the cinema takes this further and appeal that ridiculous decision. BTW, whoever that lawyer/council that represented the cinema needs to be fired and they need to get proper representation to build a good case for them.

  11. Anonymous
    July 31, 2017 at 5:30 pm Reply

    Actually, it’s a good ruling. It appears most of the comments are from people who don’t understand copyright law and the role of collection agencies.
    There are copyright organizations that would collect for ECCO when music from their membership is played by radio stations etc which are outside ECCO’s sphere of influence. ECCO in turn would turn over any funds collected on behalf of the extra-regional body. ASCAP, BMI and etc.
    Hope that summary is helpful

  12. Anonymous
    July 31, 2017 at 7:14 pm Reply

    You morons in here have ZERO concept of music rights and intellectual property. LOL @ movie ticket prices ….smh

    1. Hunted
      August 2, 2017 at 9:57 pm Reply

      FU your must be one of those greedy bastards that rather feed your greed and see good things in this country destroyed there a place for you when you die it’s called HELL

  13. John Sparks
    July 31, 2017 at 7:45 pm Reply

    Pretty soon you’ll need a licence to play music in your car.
    This really ridiculous.
    Who’s going to make sure ECCO send that money collected to the foreign artist.
    Does ECCO publicize their financial statements? If not.. are they going to ?

  14. Slim
    August 30, 2017 at 11:16 am Reply

    Quote from website:
    https://www.prsformusic.com/royalties/cinema-royalties

    How we calculate

    Music used in films

    “Film companies provide us with cue sheets or consignment notes, which detail the music they have used. We use the duration of the music and the official box office receipts for each film to calculate the royalties.”

    This company is basically like ECCO, they pay royalties for their members’ music used in cinemas. So what ECCO may be saying is that Caribbean Cinemas needs to make these payments through them, and not directly to wherever they are currently doing it(if they are).

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