COSCAP is a non-profit making copyright membership organisation representing, the performing and reproduction rights in music of composers, authors and publishers, and the related rights of performers and producers of phonograms and videograms.
Established in 1997, the organisation was first called the Barbados Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers (BACAP), but envisioning a wider representation of the rights of Caribbean rightsholders at some point in the future, the name was changed to COSCAP in 1999.
The organisation came about from the initiative of Sach Moore, one of Barbados’ best-known, successful songwriters and advocates for intellectual property reform, with greater emphasis on enforcement. Recognising the inadequacy of the protective and management system prevailing in 1997 under the Performing Right Society (PRS), Moore, along with other leading names in the local music industry namely, Nicholas Brancker, Stedson Wiltshire (a.k.a. Red Plastic Bag), John King, Anthony Hoyos and Phil Phillips, decided that the time was right for a national society, and wasted no time in taking the necessary action.
In 2004, the Directors of COSCAP together with the Directors of the Caribbean Related Rights Association (CARRA), which at the time represented the so-called neighbouring rights of performers and producers of phonograms, wanting to put a greater percentage of their incomes into the hands of their members and affiliates, decided that the conditions within the local marketplace warranted one collective organisation only.
That decision was based mainly on the fact that the vast majority of members in both organisations were multi-talented – composers–cum lyricists-cum performers–cum independent record producers, with a growing interest in music publishing.
Furthermore, it was agreed that having one organisation would permit the pooling of scarce expertise, whilst streamlining a collective system to function more cost-effectively in a small, developing nation. With the successful selling of that rationale to the respective memberships, CARRA was dissolved in mid-2004, paving the way for an expanded COSCAP with members owning related rights.
Today, COSCAP, with 322 composer, author and publisher members, coupled with 298 performer and producer members, is widely recognized as the island’s main music industry association. It also takes the lead against piracy with a core of people with in-depth knowledge and experience about the management and protection of intellectual property.
As earlier alluded, the British-based PRS extended its membership services to Barbadians prior to the establishment of the national organisation. In 2000 the two organisations entered into a reciprocal agreement, which positioned COSCAP to represent in Barbados all of the PRS members’ works, as well as the entire international repertoire licensed to that organisation by its affiliates. Similarly, the PRS was licensed to represent all of COSCAP’s interests outside of Barbados.
However, with the establishment of the Caribbean Copyright Link (CCL) in 2001 -- an initiative of the CARICOM ministers responsible for intellectual property aimed at creating the framework for rightsholders within the region to manage their own works collectively - the terms and conditions of the reciprocal agreement have changed dramatically over the past few years.
Currently, like its other CCL partners namely, COTT (Trinidad & Tobago), ECCO (the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States) and JACAP (Jamaica), COSCAP has sought and secured individual reciprocal and unilateral agreements with a number of performing and mechanical rights societies worldwide. Among this ever-expanding list of affiliates, which include the afore-named CCL members, are ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, AMRA, Harry Fox Agency, all of the United States, the PRS for Music (England), CASH (Hong Kong), BUMA (The Netherlands), KODA (Denmark), STIM (Sweden), SACEM (France), IMRO (Ireland), SGAE (Spain), ACDAM (Cuba), SACM (Mexico), SCD (Chile), SACVEN (Venezuela), SAYCO (Colombia), AGADU (Uruguay), MCSN (Nigeria), SAMRO (South Africa), APRA (Australia), MCSC (China), JASRAC (Japan), MCSK (Kenya), SADAIC (Argentina), SUISA (Switzerland) and the members of the IFPI (Sony BMG Entertainment, Warner International Incorporated, Universal Music Latin America, EMI Music International Services Limited). The resolve is to continue securing reciprocal agreements where such agreements will redound to the economic benefit of members.
Additionally, COSCAP has been a member of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) since 2000.
This direct relationship with similar organisations, increased vigilance, as well as the expansion of its licensing network across a broader music usage spectrum, has resulted in increased revenue for COSCAP since inception, but that is not to say that the organisation does not have its challenges, which it tries to tackle every day.
COSCAP repertoire includes all musical genres, including, calypso, soca, ragga soca, reggae, R&B, hip-hop, pop, rock, country, rap, folk, jazz, gospel, dub, alternative, tuk, ring bang, as well as other traditional and emerging trends.
In addition to issuing blanket licences to music users, leading the charge against music pirates, collecting and distributing royalties to members and affiliates, COSCAP exists to assist in the furtherance of its members’ education about the music industry. Particularly, the organisation is committed to the enlightenment of members about the intricacies of copyright, related rights and other industry-related matters having the potential to impact positively or otherwise on their livelihoods.
From the inception, COSCAP has benefited from strong and competent leadership, which recognizes the need to design ingenious ways to deal with a people, whose culture for years led them to believe that intellectual property is a free-for-all. Changing that culture is not in any way an easy task, but significant progress has been made so far.
A Council of Directors elected by and from the membership mainly controls COSCAP. The Council is comprised of composers, lyricists, music publishers, performers and record producers. The one exception is a lone representative of the Government ministry with the intellectual property portfolio.
West Indies BB11114
Tel: (246) 435 1777/437 2163
Fax: (246) 435 2777