PPL and JAMMS sign landmark international agreement
PPL is the first collective management organisation (CMO) to sign an international performer agreement with the Jamaican CMO, Jamaican Music Society (JAMMS). The news follows PPL’s latest agreement with the Romanian performers’ rights organisation, CREDIDAM.
This latest signing with JAMMS is a significant leap forward for the Jamaican music industry, addressing a longstanding gap that has seen performers miss out on revenue where their music is used overseas. Under Jamaican law, performers do not have a right to equitable remuneration for the broadcast and public performance of recordings of their performances. Via PPL, Jamaican performers will now financially benefit from such use of their music recordings in the UK.
PPL and JAMMS have worked together for a number of years under a reciprocal agreement relating to the rights of independent record companies represented by both organisations.
PPL’s Director of International, Laurence Oxenbury, welcomed the agreement:
“Any lover of popular music knows that the world owes a debt of gratitude to the musical talent and creativity of Jamaican performers. Having a local Jamaican organisation appointed by performers to manage their repertoire, collect revenue from the UK on their behalf and collectively represent their rights can only be a catalyst for the more effective flow of revenue back to Jamaica from the UK and hopefully other countries in the future.
“Revenue is currently being collected around the world on behalf of Jamaican performers but only a small proportion is making its way back to Jamaican performers who performed on the recordings. We, at PPL, have embarked on this agreement with JAMMS to enable more Jamaican artists and musicians to earn from recordings on which they have performed, when such works are played in our territory.
“We believe that the establishment of an agreement to remunerate performers where their recorded music is broadcast or played in public in Jamaica would be of considerable economic benefit to the Jamaican music industry and its performers. The strength and reach of the nation’s music internationally places it in a unique position among its many counterparts to be a net earner of royalties for performers. The implementation of such a remuneration right, by amending Jamaica’s Copyright Act, would be in keeping with Jamaica’s obligations under the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT).”
The announcement coincides with the increasingly-popular Reggae Month in February in Jamaica as well as the visit of PPL’s Performer Board Member, David Stopps, to Kingston, to meet with the Jamaican Intellectual Property Office and government officials. Stopps will discuss, amongst other items, the potential status of Kingston as an official, world-beating Music City, recognising the importance of music to the economy and culture of the region. He has a longstanding relationship with Jamaica and has conducted several workshops in Kingston and Montego Bay based on his WIPO book How to make a Living from Music.
General Manager at JAMMS, Mr Evon Mullings, explained:
“For a number of years now we have had an excellent relationship with PPL, as it relates to an existing reciprocal agreement concerning royalties for record producers. So when I approached PPL concerning an agreement for performers, the discussions were partly in the context of a sound existing business relationship. We both examined the dynamics and applicable legal framework within Jamaica and eventually agreed, courtesy of the PPL Performer Board, to proceed with a unilateral agreement in favour of royalty flows to Jamaica.
“The one-way flow of royalties will last until Jamaica’s Copyright Act is fully updated to allow JAMMS to operationalise copyright licensing on behalf of performers in Jamaica. When that change takes effect it will enable JAMMS to license and collect royalties in Jamaica in relation to performers and therefore be able to reciprocate in sending royalties to the UK for repertoire of UK artists and musicians that are played in the Jamaica market.
“This was an unprecedented move for PPL to engage in a one way flow of royalties but they respect the work of JAMMS and respect the impact that Jamaica’s music has had internationally, especially in the UK. We salute our partners at PPL for their enlightenment and willingness to share in solutions that are of importance to music practitioners, beyond UK borders”.
Revenue from public performance and broadcast rights can be a significant income stream for performers. With this deal, Jamaican performers for whom royalties have accrued at PPL and whom are represented by JAMMS, will now be able to benefit from this stream of revenue. Broadcasting and public performance revenue can be a welcome stream of income especially for older musicians and artists, many of whom have performed on classic Jamaican tracks but whom are no longer able to go on tour or travel as frequently as they used to.