New copyright rules go into effect Thursday

New copyright rules will come into force Thursday, June 30, replacing legislation originally from the United Kingdom in 1956.

The new copyright law, adopting the U.K.’s modernized protections for intellectual property, gives more protection to musicians, artists, writers and other content producers, and brings the law in line with the realities of the Internet and digital distribution.

“Local artists and investors have been frustrated for many years by the lack of modern IP protection in Cayman and clamored for improved rights. With copyrights, while previous legislation offered a level of protection, it was outdated to the point where local artists could not properly protect their digital music, images and other digital creations,” Commerce Minister Wayne Panton said.

He added, “If entrepreneurs know their works will be protected in Cayman, they have an incentive to locate here, create jobs here and spend money in our economy. “Furthermore, businesses such as Health City Cayman Islands, Cayman Enterprise City and the entities operating within them, as well as other individuals and businesses in Cayman who also benefit from IP protection, will be able to attract more investment interest.”

The Copyright (Cayman Islands) Order 2015 modernizes copyright protections in the islands by extending the U.K. 1988 Copyright Act, which has been updated several times.

The new copyright law extends copyright protections and will likely affect companies selling counterfeit music and movies, and radio stations, restaurants, bars and other establishments that play copyrighted music without a license.

The new law extends the definition of “broadcast” to include protections against distributing copyright material over cable television or wireless transmission.

Copyright owners such as musicians and movie production companies will be able to apply to the Customs Department to have anything that would violate copyright seized on its way into the country.

Mr. Panton said he plans to introduce a new Trade Marks Bill in Cayman so companies can register brands and logos locally.

“Copyrights, therefore, are just the beginning,” Mr. Panton said. “By allowing persons to register a range of IP rights in a more efficient, cost effective manner, we are assisting them in exercising their rights if anyone infringes upon them.”

“Under our current legislation, persons are unable to register their trademarks in Cayman without first obtaining protection in the U.K.,” he said. “Also, design rights are not currently protected by law in Cayman.”

Mr. Panton said he hopes to address this by allowing design rights from the U.K. to be extended to Cayman.