COSCAP is the acronym for the Copyright Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Incorporated. COSCAP is a non-profit entity incorporated under the Companies Act of Barbados and its key function is to administer the “non-dramatic” performing, transmission, broadcasting and reproductions rights in the musical works of its members and the members of affiliated societies. COSCAP does this by acting as a collective administration society negotiating “blanket licences” with music users which provides them with access to COSCAP’s very extensive repertoire.
Music Use at Events
If you are planning to produce a concert, fete, fair or other public event with or without an admission fee where music will be performed by live or recorded means, then, as with other users of music, you will require a public performance licence from COSCAP. It is recognised that there are many types of events and COSCAP has a schedule of tariffs in order to ensure that you are granted the licence that best meets your needs and the intended type of music use.
The process for applying and obtaining a licence is very simple. Before the event takes place, you should complete and return an application form to COSCAP providing details such as where the event will take place, cost of admission, the capacity of the venue and the number of tickets printed as well as the type of music that will be performed. COSCAP will process the application and provide you with a pro-forma invoice and draft contract. Upon payment the licence is executed and a receipt of payment provided.
It is important for licensees to note that as a condition of the grant of a licence, you may be required to provide COSCAP representatives access to the event and a running order of the music performed. The information gathered enables COSCAP to distribute royalties more accurately to the owners of the music actually used.
Use of Music in Television and Film
As with other users of music, broadcast and cable operators are required under the Barbados Copyright Act 1998-4 to obtain licences for the broadcast of content containing copyright protected musical works and sound recordings. A licence is also necessary for the copying of recordings onto hard drives. Additionally, licences are also required to cover the use of music in signature tunes and internal productions.
Music Use in Businesses
One of the most important ways in which music composers are able to earn income is through the royalties paid on the public performance of their work. Because of the effort expended in the creation process, the creators are granted certain exclusive economic rights and so in order to use their work, a licence is necessary. This is especially so when you consider that the use of music results in a number of benefits as it is used either to make money (discos, concerts), for entertainment (hotels) or to provide ambience (shops, offices, restaurants).
For copyright purposes, a performance in public means any performance outside the domestic circle and includes performances in hotels, restaurants and cinemas, those given to audiences restricted to the members of a club or local institute, as well as to workers in a factory. Additionally, under the Copyright Act of Barbados, the copyright owner is protected for every public performance of his/her music, whether it is “live” or by mechanical means (record or compact disc player, a jukebox, radio or television). It does not matter whether the music use is for commercial or non-commercial reasons although there will be a difference in the tariffs applied. Additionally, there are some exceptions for charitable organisations.
When you want to record a song in digital or traditional format, you will first have to obtain permission from the songwriter and/or publisher. This is because the right to make copies is an exclusive right (the mechanical or reproduction right). However, when the writer or publisher belongs to a copyright society, such as COSCAP, it administers the mechanical right. The executive producer will have to obtain permission from COSCAP instead. This permission is given in the form of a mechanical licence and royalties are paid for the copies of the song made.
These royalties are then paid to the writer and/or publisher by COSCAP after a small deduction of administration costs.
The synchronisation licence permits the accompaniment of a moving image with the underlying musical piece. Consequently, the “synch” licence is required for videos, motion pictures, television, commercials, and other visual formats that are combined with musical works.
The synch licence is generally granted by the publisher or his/her representative (in this case COSCAP) to the producer of the visual work. It authorises the utilisation of the underlying musical composition. Similar to a mechanical licence, any proceeds go to the benefit of the publisher and/or writer (i.e. the owner of the copyright in the underlying work).
The synch licence itself does not permit the use of a recording of the particular musical composition. A separate recording or master use licence is required for such a use or, in the alternative, a new recording of the work would have to be made.
The licence fee payable is negotiable depending on the intended use, duration of use and production budget.
Videograms for retail sale and/or rental to the public for private and domestic use
When an audiovisual recording is made involving the reproduction of musical works and the synching with visuals, a videogram licence may be obtained from COSCAP covering both the mechanical licence and the synchronisation licence.
Online, Ringtones & New Media
As with traditional music formats, licences are also necessary for the use of music online, as ringtones and in new media. When music is used, streamed, downloaded or otherwise communicated to the public, a number of rights must be cleared:
- the reproduction of the underlying songs;
- the reproduction of the recordings of the songs and
- the communication to the public of the songs.
In most cases you are able to obtain one licence for the reproduction and communication of the underlying songs from COSCAP and soon, COSCAP will also provide a licence to cover the reproduction of the recordings for some members and affiliates.
Production Music and Digital Master Rights Licensing Schemes
In keeping with its mandate and the need to proactively create and promote opportunities for its members as well as to promote structure within the music industry, COSCAP is offering new and innovative licensing schemes – production music and digital master rights licensing.
The production music scheme aims to meet a demand for and to stimulate the use of Caribbean production music for use in television, films and radio productions by broadcasters and advertisers locally, regionally and internationally. It also aims to encourage local and regional creators to explore a wide variety of genres and to further their exposure to new potential revenue streams.
The digital master rights scheme recognises the shortcomings of our operating environment which consists of many creators who are small in the scale of their operations and geographically scattered. As the market for digital and new media exploitation of music continues to grow, those who require licences find it difficult to conduct business in the region, given the challenges identifying, verifying ownership and negotiating with the individual owners of masters. In many cases users become frustrated and give up, offer low licensing rates or simply do not obtain the required licences. COSCAP’s scheme will be voluntary and although the licensing scheme will be exclusive, it will also offer the ability to “opt out” in order to negotiate licences individually when it is strategically suitable to do so.