With new copyright rules coming to Cayman sometime this fall, bootleg DVDs, “borrowing” music for a radio commercial without permission, even pinching a photo from online for a newsletter, will be illegal.
The new rules will force some changes to the way government, especially its television and graphics units, do business, according to the government’s chief officer for marketing and communications.
Cayman’s new copyright law is adapted from the United Kingdom Copyright Act of 1988. It is meant to modernize Cayman’s intellectual property protections, bringing the rules more in line with the realities of the Internet and digital piracy.
Suzette Ebanks, chief information officer with Government Information Services, said, “Copyright will change the way we work, some sections more than others.”
The government television service – CIG TV – and the graphics section, she said, will feel the biggest impact. Both sections regularly use copyrighted works, including music and images, which will be protected under the new law.
The U.K. Privy Council passed the Copyright (Cayman Islands) Order 2015 on March 19. Until the new law goes into effect later this year, Cayman is still under the U.K.’s 1956 copyright law.
Sophie Davies, an intellectual property attorney with HSM IP, said copyright in Cayman has essentially been ignored for years. “No one, including government, really understands it or thinks it’s that important,” she said.
Ms. Ebanks said now that the new copyright law will be coming into effect, she plans to “develop hard and fast policies and procedures” to address copyright violations in government. “We need to change the way we work and make sure we’re thinking about copyright,” she said.
Ms. Davies said a modern copyright regime is about more than paying people for their creative work. Protecting intellectual property will help “make sure this country is taken seriously internationally.”
Recently, Commerce Minister Wayne Panton said the new copyright rules will help Cayman attract new business and make it easier for businesses to operate here. “Intellectual property rights are featuring very significantly now as assets of businesses,” he said.
In a statement, Mr. Panton said the U.K.’s 1956 Copyright Act is an outdated way to handle intellectual property.
“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,” he said.
Mr. Panton said once a date is set to implement the new copyright law, there will be a six-month window for public education and training to make people and companies aware of the new rules.