Copyright & IP Policy

Working as closely as we do with visual and performing professionals, VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS JAMAICA (VPAJ) understands the pivotal importance of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). Not only do we strive to ensure that we full respect the rights of our members, but we also expect our members – as well as all other visitors to this website – to demonstrate an equal amount of respect.

In preparing this Policy, we found the following publication very helpful indeed and so have used it as a guide: “The Arts and Copyright: Learn from the Past, Create the Future” (2007, Additionally, we were given a lot of information by the JAMAICA INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE (JIPO): or (1 876) 754-6350.

WHAT IS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY? According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO,, Intellectual Property is defined as “all creations of the human mind” and comprises:

  • Copyright and Related Rights:
    • - Copyright: protects original works; and
    • - Related Rights: protect performances, original recordings & broadcasts of works.
  • Industrial Property:
    • - Patents protect inventions;
    • - Industrial Designs protect the designs of products; and
    • - Trademarks protect distinctive signs.


Copyright provides authors (i.e. the creators of original works) with a set of exclusive rights over their works – and ‘exclusive’ means that there are certain things that only authors can do to their works.

According to the Berne Convention - the key international treaty which governs copyright protection in more than 160 countries worldwide (including Jamaica) - there are two types of rights under copyright:

1. ECONOMIC RIGHTS, where authors have the exclusive right to:

  • reproduce the work, incl. any form of copying such as photocopying, downloading, uploading, printing, recording, photographing, scanning…etc.
  • translate the work into other languages.
  • adapt the work, during which the alteration or transformation changes the type of work, e.g. making a novel into a movie, animating a drawing into a cartoon. Character merchandising (using the name or image of a fictional character to sell products such as toys, t-shirts, etc.) may also involve a form of adaptation.
  • exhibit or perform the work in public, e.g. displaying photos in an art gallery, performing a play in front of an audience, playing a CD in a store or restaurant…etc
  • distribute the work by selling copies to the public. f) broadcast the work, e.g. by playing a song over the radio or showing a film on TV.
  • communicate the work to the public, e.g. by uploading a work onto the Internet.

This means that no copyrighted work can be reproduced, translated, adapted, exhibited or performed in public, distributed, broadcast or communicated to the public without the permission of its author (i.e. all rights reserved).

2. MORAL RIGHTS maintain the personal link between authors and their works, and includes the right to:

  • be recognized as the author of a work (right of paternity), i.e. authors can chose to sign their names / not sign their names (remain anonymous) / sign a fictional name (use a pseudonym) on their works.
  • object to any changes to the work, which could damage the author’s honor or reputation (right of integrity).


The copyright of a specific work is owned by the person who created that work.

Where works are created by more than one person, all who contributed to the creation of the work are considered its co-authors and they share the copyright of the collective work. Where authors wish to remain anonymous or use a pseudonym in order to hide their true identity from the public, the author still owns the copyright to his works.

In some countries, when a person creates a new work as part of his employment contract, the company or institution that employs him may own the copyright to the work.


The length of copyright protection varies according to (i) national law of each country, (ii) who created the work, and (iii) the type of work. In countries that are members of the Bern Convention, copyright lasts a minimum of the life of the author plus 50 years after the author’s death. In the case of works created by more that one author, the end of the copyright protection is calculated from the time of death of the last surviving co-author. The length of protection for anonymous and pseudonymous works is calculated from the time they are published. However, if the real identity of the author is known despite the pseudonym, the copyright protection has the same duration as for other known authors (until at least 50 years after their death).

When the author of a work is a corporation or an institution rather than an individual, the duration of copyright protection is also calculated from the time the work is published.

Note: in most countries, movies and photographs have different (usually shorter) terms of protection than other works.


ALL work that is original is protected by copyright. This means that copyright protects a wide range of works, including:

  • Written works: books, speeches, magazine and newspaper articles, novels, stories, poems, essays, plays, text books, web pages, advertisements, and dance notations.
  • Musical works: musical compositions, lyrics, songs and ring tones, in all types of formats (sheet music, CDs, MP3 files, etc).
  • Artistic works: drawings, paintings, photographs, comics, sculptures, architectural works, and maps.
  • Dramatic and choreographic works: plays, operas and dance.
  • Computer programs: human (source code) and machine (object code) computer programming language.

Copyright does NOT protect ideas or mere facts. It does however protect the way in which ideas are expressed, i.e. the unique way in which words, musical notes, colors, shapes…etc. are chosen and arranged which, together, makes a work original.


Copyright protection is automatic, i.e. the moment you create a piece of work that is original, it is protected by copyright.

The © symbol is often used as a reminder that a work is protected by copyright. It is usually followed by the name of the owner of the copyright and the year in which the work was created e.g. “© VPAJ, 2009” would signify work produced by VPAJ in the year 2009.

Remember, a work is not required to have a copyright symbol or statement printed on or near it in order to be copyrighted. Therefore, don’t assume that the work is unprotected simply because you cannot see a notice printed anywhere. Also, don’t think that a work which is publicly available (e.g. through the internet) is automatically (a) in the public domain and/or (b) free for use.


Copyright Infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is used (i.e. reproduced, translated, adapted, exhibited or performed in public, distributed, broadcast, or communicated to the public) without the permission of the right holder(s) or under a limitation to copyright. It most commonly involves one (or more) of the following:

  • Plagiarism: the act of copying a work - wholly or partially - and then pretending to be its original author;
  • Piracy: the intentional and illegal sale of copyrighted works. Although music is the type of work that is pirated most often, other works are also affected (e.g. movies);
  • Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing: this refers to the way in which different computer users can share computer files (text, music and/or video) across the Internet. The downloading and uploading that takes place in P2P file sharing involves copying and communicating the work to the public – both of which are exclusive rights of the author (or other right holders) of the work. Therefore, when done without the right holders’ permission, P2P file sharing is an infringement of copyright.


This website,, is published and maintained by the VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS JAMAICA (VPAJ). Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all text information, images and video content contained herein are the intellectual property of VPAJ and/or its members.

In order to safeguard and promote the interests of its members, VPAJ ensures that content contributed by and belonging to its members is clearly and correctly credited, i.e. with the name of the work as well as that of the copyright owner. Additionally, VPAJ uses Digital Rights Management Technologies (including protecting its database as far as possible, displaying low quality images on the site…etc.) to further safeguard its members’ works.

Except as otherwise expressly permitted under copyright law or VPAJ’ s Terms of Use, the content of this site may not be copied, reproduced, republished, downloaded, posted, broadcasted or transmitted in any way without first obtaining VPAJ’s expressed written permission or that of the copyright owner.

Where permission has been granted by VPAJ and/or its members - i.e. the copyright owner(s) - for the download of any aspect of this website, such downloads may only be used for personal or educational purposes and use of copyright must be attributed to VPAJ and/or its member (as relevant). Materials downloaded from VPAJ’s website must under no circumstances be used for commercial purposes.

And if you are a VPAJ member who has uploaded content onto this website, remember that you can remove your work at any time by deleting it from your Profile. Once you have done this, your work will also be deleted from VPAJ’s server.


When VPAJ becomes aware that content on this website infringes upon the copyrights of anyone – whether VPAJ member or otherwise - we will immediately remove and delete it from our database. This is a legal requirement which VPAJ will honour fully and without delay once copyright infringement has been established.

If you believe that VPAJ’s website infringes upon your copyrights in any way, it is your responsibility to alert us straight away – either through the website’s CONTACT US facility or by sending an email to One of VPAJ's team will review your notification and will take the necessary action to resolve the situation. [And when you send VPAJ a notification of such an infringement, it would be helpful if you could include a copy of your material in the infringing site (with the date visible) so that the infringer cannot simply delete the material and pretend that nothing happened.]

If a VPAJ member is repeatedly found to be uploading infringing content, his/her membership will be suspended for a defined period of time. Serious offenders will have their membership cancelled and will be unable to re-join VPAJ for life. Similarly, if a member is found deliberately misrepresenting another’s work as his/her own, his/her VPAJ membership will be cancelled immediately.

If you believe that your content was removed in error, also contact us straight away – either through the website’s CONTACT US facility or by sending an email to ( An appointed VPAJ Administrator will then contact you to take appropriate action to resolve the situation.

If a user prints off, copies or downloads any part of VPAJ’s website in breach of VPAJ’s Terms of Use – including this Intellectual Property and Copyright Policy – his/her right to continue using this site will cease immediately and s/he must - at VPAJ’s option - return or destroy any copies of the materials s/he has made.


VPAJ Trademarks and Logo are registered trademarks of the VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS JAMAICA.

If there is any further information you seek which relates to Intellectual Property and Copyright that is not posted in this Policy, please feel free to send your query by email to