Enhance your understanding of our services to members of our organization.
The first owner of copyright is the person who creates an original work. However, where the work is created by an employee in the normal course of employment the employer is regarded as the copyright owner. If a work has been commissioned, in the absence of any written agreement to the contrary, the work belongs to the creator.
If you own the copyright you possess the sole authority to:
In relation to musical works, copyright in the works is owned originally by the composer or songwriter who may assign such rights to a music publisher or an organization such as ours. When you join COTT your rights are transferred to us. Upon admission to membership of COTT, composers, lyricists, songwriters and music publishers assign the performing right and reproduction right in their music to COTT.
It would be impossible for the individual composer, lyricist, songwriter or publisher to monitor the public performances and broadcasts by thousands of users of their music across Trinidad & Tobago and the rest of the world, to issue licenses and collect royalties due. Similarly if the music of a composer, lyricist, songwriter or publisher is being recorded by another person it would be difficult for the copyright owner to keep track of such recordings. COTT monitors the use of music, issues licenses, collects license fees and distributes such fees to its members and reciprocal affiliated societies.
Copyright in a musical work arises automatically as soon as it is created. In Trinidad and Tobago there is no necessity for the work to be recorded or written.
No official registration is necessary to secure copyright in a work. Under T&T law both musical and literary works are automatically protected from the time they are created. Consequently, in the event of a dispute over authorship, ownership or originality, there is no standard method of proving that one work was in existence before another.
There are however, suggested ways to help prove that the work was created on a specific date:
The registration of a title of a work with COTT (as is required of members) does not create copyright in the notified work.
Copyright in original works generally lasts for a period ending 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the author dies.
A copyright owner can exploit his/her copyright in the following ways:
Yes. As the author of the music or lyrics of a musical work, you alone can decide how the work is used.