Leader of the Opposition, Mark Golding, was Minister of Justice in June 2015 when Jamaica’s copyright law was amended to increase the period of protection for original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works.
Under the 2015 Act, the term of copyright was increased to the life of the creator of the work plus 95, up from 50, years across the board.
In a recent interview with THE STAR, while attending Intimate, the sold-out Beres Hammond and Buju Banton concert in St Ann, Golding spoke about the cultural and financial importance of Jamaica’s music, and expressed concern about the longevity of the music that is being produced today.
“I am hoping that we can continue into the future to generate world class music that will have the impact on the world that our music of yesteryear has had. I am a little concerned about that, to be honest, because I, like many people, share the concern that we are not seeing as much of what I would call transcendent quality music that can survive the initial relatively short buzz of a hit, but that can be a sustained part of the catalogue of Jamaican music that people can continue to enjoy for decades,” the avid music fan said.
Much has been said and written about the sub-genre of dancehall called ‘trap’ and the prevalence of songs glorifying ‘chopping’, Molly and guns.
Golding added, “I feel that we are not generating as much of that type of music as in prior eras and I hope that we can somehow turn that around because Jamaica’s culture and Jamaica’s economy have benefited significantly from the depth of our catalogue and the longevity of our catalogue.”
He recalled that when he was justice minister, an amendment was made to the Copyright Act to extend the period of copyright because some of Jamaica’s best material from the 60s and early 70s was coming into the public domain. This would have meant “people could just copy without paying royalties to Jamaica and to the artistes who live here and the writers and producers who live here”.
He emphasised that it was futile to rely on the back catalogue alone.
“We have to be generating quality and it is all about the songwriting and the quality of the production. And there is a space for the kind of music which does catch the imagination of today, but then that can’t be the entirety of what we are doing. There must be things that not just catch the imagination of what’s happening today, but can appeal to the people in a deep way so that future generations can also enjoy it. And that will be what keeps Jamaica at the forefront as a cultural force in the world music scene and I hope we don’t lose that,” Golding said.\