Cayman to come in line with UK, EU copyright and patent laws

The United Kingdom has extended provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to the Cayman Islands. The Act is applied by the Copyright (Cayman Islands) Order 2015, which was passed by the U.K. Privy Council on March 19.

Copyright in the Cayman Islands is provided under the U.K. Copyright Act 1956, which was repealed and replaced by the U.K. in 1988, but the 1956 Act remained in force in Cayman.

Legislation updated 

The Copyright Order revokes the application of the 1956 Act with respect to the Cayman Islands and replaces it with the extension of the U.K.’s 1988 Copyright Act.

The aim is to enable Cayman to offer modern intellectual property protection for copyrights in line with those in the United Kingdom and other countries of the European Union.

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The U.K. Act will not apply to Cayman in its entirety. Certain sections have been excluded or amended at the request of the Cayman Islands government, as detailed in the 17-page order.

“Cayman’s intellectual property legislation – the big three of which are copyrights, patents, and trademarks – affects all commerce, from financial services to creative endeavours,” said Minister of Commerce Wayne Panton in a statement issued by his ministry this week.

He said that for an inordinately long time, successive governments have heard from local entrepreneurs, artists, and potential investors who need the security provided by stronger intellectual property protection to safeguard their works, engage in the development of new business or to relocate business to Cayman.

“These persons recognize the importance of having IP rights. They also understand that having those rights also means exercising the responsibility to uphold them, by not infringing upon the rights of others,” he said.

The extension of the U.K.’s 1988 Act is the first step in the modernization of copyrights in Cayman and a significant piece of Cayman’s wider IP modernization initiative.

“Without the extension, Cayman still would be bound by the UK’s 1956 Copyright Act.” Minister Panton said. “To put this into perspective, let’s look at copyrighting for music alone, and think about how music is made and distributed today. There was nothing like digital sampling, or digital music downloading to mobile phones and tablets, back in 1956.”

Government regards the IP modernization initiative as be the “backbone” of efforts to develop the information technology sector in Cayman’s economy, according to the statement.

The Copyright Order will come into effect once the regulations have been finalized and issued – anticipated for the third quarter of 2015.

There will be a period of at least six months before the order enters into force to allow the Ministry of Commerce to conduct a public education campaign and to make necessary arrangements for local implementation, the ministry said.

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