Unethical businesses must adjust to new copyright laws

| 08/05/2015 | 0 Comments

CNS Business(CNS Business): Modernising Cayman’s copyright laws will bring financial benefit to the islands but it will impact some local businesses and they will have to adjust or find another line of business, according to Commerce Minister Wayne Panton. He said, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

The minister told CNS Business the country cannot protect the rights of Caymanians who are artists, musicians and authors and “utilising their intellectual skills to come up with something that has value and gets global protection” while ignoring local businesses who are flouting those same global intellectual property rights by selling merchandise such as bootlegged CDs, DVDs or designer items.

bootlegged DVDsPanton said an education process is in its initial stages to raise awareness and understanding on this new order but this change will indeed have an impact on the way certain establishments conduct business.

“It really means they are going to have to adjust their business model. If your business was predicated on something [that] would be regarded as unethical, then perhaps you need to either change your business model, or perhaps you do need to decide if there is another line of business you should be doing,” he said. “If you’re doing things the right way it raises the standard of credibility for your business, it raises the standard of credibility for this jurisdiction.”

Panton said members of government are more than willing to explain to individuals what their obligations are under the new laws and help mitigate any negative impacts. He said the main reason government hasn’t put the new laws into effect yet is because they want to give certain businesses time to make the adjustments.

Modernising Cayman’s copyright laws doesn’t only benefit locally created content but also attracts foreign investment in areas such as software and technology companies, he said, noting that this change is set to increase government revenue by $4 to $7 million in direct benefits in the first three to five months. Right now companies are taking their business to other jurisdictions where they know their copyright laws will be protected.

Also, the new order would raise the standard for trademark and patent laws in Cayman, which would ultimately progress the technology sector of Cayman’s economy.

By updating these laws the government would be able to participate in the International Patent Corporation Treaties that gives patent protection to 148 countries throughout the world. The PCT assists applicants in seeking patent protection internationally for their inventions, helps patent offices with their patent granting decisions, and facilitates public access to a wealth of technical information relating to those inventions.

“You’re not going to be able to attract that kind of technology-based industry to Cayman, unless while they are on the ground here working and doing this sort of stuff they can get the benefit of protection both locally and internationally,” Panton said.

The minister said the bigger picture is bringing Cayman up to modern intellectual property law standards, to enable Cayman to compete on a level playing field on an international basis.

“It is something that we have looked at, we have assessed and we think that the benefits far outway any negative consequences in terms of people having to make some adjustments, and understanding that perhaps there may have been infringement of the rights of others in the past, but it’s not something we should condone or accept,” he explained.

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Category: Featured, Finance, Law, Video

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