And after students buy those books and continue with their education, perhaps they too will get paid for producing their own original material. The Belizean Society of Composers, Authors and Publisher (BSCAP) has been around since 2005. BSCAP is a collective management society that administers the copyright of members. There are seventy local members of the organization which protects the intellectual property rights of both local and international musicians. For the first time since it was formed, BSCAP has issued royalty checks to members generated from businesses inside Belize. News Five spoke to Jason Guererro, BSCAP’s Chairman, who says it’s a first step but there is a lot more that needs to be done to make sure artists continue to receive cash for their productions.
Jason Guererro, Chairman, BSCAP
“We had issued for the very first time, royalty checks to our members. And this is very significant because though some artists in Belize have had royalty checks in the past, this is the first time that royalties have been generated right here in Belize for the licensing of music, the listening of music. We in turn have been able to pay members for their intellectual properties through performance of their work.”
“How significant is this? Do you expect that more organizations who freely use the works of artists to come on board or do you think this is a long time away?”
“Well it’s been a slow process. We’ve been going door to door trying to educate music users of the laws of Belize that says as music users, you are required to pay license for the music being used at your establishment. And so it is a slow process, but we are very understanding that it’s a new concept for Belize and so we are willing to take the time and wait till persons are ready.”
“Which would be the area most affected when it comes to this—television, radio, commercials?”
“Actually, as long as the person is using music in the course of doing business, then they are required to license the music that they use. That means; banks, television stations, radio stations, business offices—as long as they are using them. In fact, our first licensee is First Caribbean Bank and they understand the licensing concept and the reasoning for it and so they’ve agreed; they’ve actually licensed for two years. And it is from that actually that we’ve been able to pay royalties to our members.”
Among BSCAP’s members are: Supa G, Melonie Gillett, Nello Player, Tanya Carter, Ernestine Carballo, Brother David Obi as well as Pen and Mali Cayetano.