Trinidad and Tobago: Copyright Law

Taran Rampersad critiques policy of the Copyright Organisation of Trinidad and Tobago.


  • Dear Ms. Rampersad,

    Thank you for visiting COTT’s booth at Southex International Exposition 2006 (SouthEx). COTT’s presence at SouthEx was part of the organisation’s drive to raise the awareness of the value of copyright music in Trinidad and Tobago.

    I write in response to your article “A Rant on Licensing of Radio and Television for Public Viewing.”

    The Copyright Organisation of Trinidad and Tobago (COTT) is a national non profit
    (but commercial) organisation representing over 1000 local songwriters, music composers and music publishers

    COTT’s main function is to manage and license collectively for music creators and their publishers, the performing and reproduction rights in their copyright music ( In this capacity, COTT collects fees from the users of copyright music and distributes the money as royalties to the writers and publishers who own the copyright. Through COTT’s direct and indirect reciprocal agreements with international affiliates, COTT represents virtually the worldwide repertoire of copyright music, which at present amounts to some 17 million active works (

    Under the copyright laws of all countries who are members of the Berne Convention (, the reception of TV and radios in a public place is a separate right known as a “performing right.”

    The definition of “public performance” is clearly stated in the Copyright Act of 1997 of Trinidad and Tobago under PART II, Preliminary (1-9), which COTT operates under. A copy of the Act is available at the Government Printery of Trinidad and Tobago and you can also view a scanned copy on the Trinidad and Tobago National Library and Information Systems web site at: (

    Regarding “public domain”, Copyright arises automatically as soon as an original work is created. However, copyright is protected by law during the life of the author and for fifty years after his /her death in Trinidad and Tobago. This law can also be viewed in the Copyright Act, Part III, Duration of Copyright and Moral Rights, under Section 19.

    Thank you for creating an opportunity for the subjects “COTT & copyright” to arise.

    Should you wish to have further discussions please contact COTT’s communications officer, Ms. Vindra Bridgebassie at

  • LOL.

    That would be MR. Rampersad, and I’m well aware of copyright. However, charging twice for the same thing is immoral, no matter how many words you surround it with.

  • aisha alexander

    tell me more about getting permission to use soca music for karaoke which will be sold to promote soca music and boost tourism as well waiting to here from you…………………..

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