A High Court judge has ruled that Mega Plex Entertainment Corporation, operators of Caribbean Cinemas, has infringed on copyright laws by failing to obtain a license which is required by law, from the Eastern Caribbean Collective Organization for music rights (ECCO) before airing movies that had music soundtracks incorporated into them.
ECCO had filed a civil suit against the company in what lawyers said was a “long forthcoming” case.
The music rights organisation had asked the court for damages and on July 25 High Court Judge Godfrey Smith ruled in their favour.
ECCO’s Chief Executive Officer Steve Etienne welcomed the decision, stating that it helps set a precedent for similar cases in the entire region.
“It is of course the very first time that we have traveled this path…across the English-speaking Caribbean. So now, when one needs to take infringement action, a precedent has been set so we’re very glad about this. It means that our members can benefit by [seeing] lower administrative fees and…its good news all around,” he said.
ECCO’s legal representative T.M. Antoine Partners said the recent ruling pushes the point that the organisation is entitled to take action against infringers.
“While we always knew that ECCO is a legitimate organisation, [and] it can carry out its functions in the interest of its members [and] they’re a non-profit organisation, the judgement clearly states that they are a registered society, [that] they are entitled to bring actions against would-be infringers; they are entitled to license users of music; they are entitled to represent foreign music owners or representatives and that was quite clear in the judgement,” T.M Antoine Partners Attorney Thaddeus Antoine said.
Meanwhile, Musician Licensing Specialist Enrique Camacho applauded ECCO on its landmark legal victory.
An inquiry will be held in order for an assessment of damages to be made.
A date for that hearing will be determined by the court.