Issue #ZAS1234

Issue #ZAS1234

May 26, 2022

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Protecting Your Work Through Copyright PART 3

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By Deidre Hector

So, now you have completed your creative work, congratulations, but how do you protect it? How do you ensure your right as a content creator is protected? How long will that protection last? It is important to note that copyright protection does not cover ideas, processes, concepts or procedures. So, what does it actually cover?

The first step that an author needs to take is to figure out whether their work falls within one of the categories which may qualify for copyright protection under the Copyright Act of Jamaica. You might recall from Part 2 of our Copyright series (Freedom Come Rain Volume 2_Issue 22) that copyright protection vests in the author a right of protection in an original literary, musical, dramatic or artistic work. Additionally, copyright protection extends to the categories of sound recordings, films, broadcasts, cable programs and typographical arrangements of published editions. This list is a closed list, that means that if the work does not fall within any of the above categories, it cannot be protected by copyright.

Let’s look at the article and poem ‘Rest A While’ written by Shaquan Richards from Part 1 of our Copyright Series (See Freedom Come Rain Volume 2_Issue 21). Does it qualify for copyright protection and will Shaquan be able to protect her work? The answer is, “Yes!” This piece would fall under the category of literary works. A literary work consists of works other than a dramatic or musical work which is spoken, sung or written.

A second criterion for copyright protection is that the work must be an original, unpublished piece and must be the work of the author. Here, you must be able to show that your work is an original piece and was created by you – the author. To follow from our previous example, since “Rest A While” poem, written by Shaquan is an original work of which she is the author, she has passed the second criterion and is on her way to copyright protection.

The length of copyright depends on the type of work being protected. For literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, the period of protection is for the lifetime of the author, plus an additional period of 95 years after the death of the author. In cable programme and broadcasts, copyright protection spans 95 years from the end of the year in which the programme was included in a cable programme, or in the case of a broadcast, the year in which the broadcast was made.
For typographical arrangements of published editions, the period of protection spans 50 years from the year in which the edition was first published.

So, what happens next? The author seeking to protect any work through copyright may want to visit the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) at 18 Trafalgar Road, Kingston 10 in order to complete the copyright process. JIPRO is the government body with responsibility for copyright registration and protection. There are also several local societies that can assist the author with protecting their interest, assisting and enabling users to utilise an author’s work under agreements such as licences, and also can facilitate the collection of the author’s work. Such societies include:

  • The Jamaica Music Society Limited (JAMMS) located at 27 Stanton Terrace, Kgn. 6
  • The Jamaica Association of Authors, Composers & Publishers (JACAP), located at 21 Connolley Avenue, Kgn. 4, and
  • The Jamaica Copyright Licensing Agency (JAMCOPY), located at 17 Ruthven Road, Kgn. 10.

CONTACT: The Norman Manley Law School Christian Fellowship (NMLSCF) at

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