Caribbean and Diaspora News

Mo Farah and Usain Bolt
  • Carnival copyright chiefs have their say
  • UK Athletics want Usain Bolt as the star attraction
  • Observer groups arrive in Grenada
  • Carnival picong on social media 
CI logo Carnival copyright
Trinidad’s copyright officials have been explaining their decision to crack down on some live streaming of Carnival Monday and Tuesday’s Parade of the Band shows and statements on the loading of carnival pictures on to social media.
The Trinidad and Tobago Copyright Collection Organisations (TTCCO) had stopped some of the live streaming of the two-day carnival parade, which had shut down the feed that many in the Trinidad diaspora had been watching, on the basis that some stations did not have the correct licences.
The TTCO had also advised the public that loading their pictures of carnival on to social media could lead to commercial use of the photos, which would infringe copyright.
The decision prompted an outcry from the diaspora on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo, as well as attracting the attention of foreign media.
Speaking on Trinidad’s CNC3 TV station, Vijay Ramlal Rai of TTCO outlined Trinidad’s unique copyright position in terms of its masquerade (mas) bands.
“We’re the only country in the world that has works of mas in our copyright laws,” Dr Rai told CNC3.
“People used to take a lot of things for granted in terms of playing mas and being in costume.
“And many of them did not know that works of mas is an area of copyright, similar to what music is.”
Dr Rai went on to explain that the wearing of costumes on the streets of Trinidad carnival as works of mas is about “the creativity of a designer, a producer and a performer”.
“People are now getting to understand, because there was very little done about that in the past by any copyright society anywhere in Trinidad and Tobago and, more so, globally.”
Questioned on people’s desire to show off their costumes on Facebook and other social media, Dr Rai advised that TTCCO’s stance was about protecting the design: “You don’t own that design, you are only wearing it. You purchased it as an item.”
He further explained that, while his organisation did not have the capability to monitor all social media platforms, its advice had been aimed at advising anyone who was putting photos online that others could download these images for publications and magazines.
“Who’s losing out?” he said.
TTCCO vice-president Richard Cornwall, whose initial comments to Trinidad newspaper Newsday had sparked off the debate, said the issue had gone beyond Trinidad.
“We understand that we will have our detractors,” he told CNC3 TV.
“The TTCCO’s position is that for too long, too many institutions have abused the issue of copyright and, I dare to say, even the media houses.”
He said that it was “fine” to get carnival out to the masses, but that once people started to commercialise it, the people who created the designs needed to share in that.
The TTCCO represents the National Carnival Development Foundation (NCDF), which includes all of Trinidad and Tobago’s large bands and about 90% of other sized bands.
CI logo Pursuing Usain Bolt
Britain’s main athletics body, UK Athletics, says it is following up on a commitment to try to woo Usain Bolt to take part in what is being billed as the London Anniversary Games – one year after the London Olympics.
The occasion will move the annual summer athletics meet from its usual venue at London’s Crystal Palace to the 2012 Olympic stadium.
Britain’s Finance Minister [Chancellor] George Osborne has also offered a one-off tax break for foreign athletes such as Bolt to take part without facing wider tax implications.
However, the decision in early February means that global athletes’ schedules are already booked – and even Bolt’s London agent said they would need to look again at the 100m and 200m champion’s diary.
“Nothing is announced yet, but that will be in the next few weeks. We’re trying to replicate some of the big head-to-heads that made the Olympics and Paralympics so special,” UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner told London’s Evening Standard.
“My dream is to get Usain Bolt here, too. We’ll see where we get to in those discussions. We’re pursuing that and we hope to be successful.”
The Standard said that Usain Bolt was being seen as a “star attraction” for the anniversary games.
Usain Bolt is already scheduled to take part in the Norwegian meet in the world athletic series, the Samsung Diamond League, on 13 June.
London’s event is scheduled to take place from 26 July in a schedule of 14 athletic meets across the summer.
CI logo Commonwealth team for Grenada elections
Observer groups from the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the Commonwealth have arrived in Grenada for its general elections on 19 February.
The Commonwealth said in a press release that it had sent a three-member team  led by Irfan Abdool Rahman, electoral commissioner of Mauritius. He is accompanied by two members from the Commonwealth Secretariat’s political affairs division.
In the countdown to the poll, the teams will met electoral officials, political parties, stakeholders and other international groups in Grenada to observe the elections.
Their job will be to analyse overall management of the electoral process and the environment in which the election takes place.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said: “The Commonwealth is pleased to lend its support to the people of Grenada as they exercise their democratic franchise in electing their leaders. Credible electoral processes lie at the heart of democracy, a fundamental value to which the Commonwealth attaches great importance.”
CI logo Picong on Twitter
The calypso stage and J’ouvert were not the only venues for Trini picong [the art of taking the mickey] during the 2013 Carnival season.
Trinis at home and in the diaspora found social media tools – from Twitter to Facebook to Yahoo mail – to share their running commentaries during live Carnival events.
Some of the live streaming sites provided a commentary feed alongside their coverage, which gave Trinis everywhere a chance to share their thoughts on carnival events.
Even when the plug was pulled on some of the live streaming, the commentary feeds continued to roll down the right-hand side of computer, laptop, phone and tablet screens.
Here are a few checked out by Caribbean Intelligence© during the carnival season:
  • “An hour glass figure….oui, an hour glass figure with 10 minutes more at the back,” said one wit.
  • “How many Jamaican government ministers in Trinidad for Carnival in the midst of an economic crisis?” said another.
  • One Trini in the diaspora tweeted: “Before, when people used actual cameras to take pictures, I'd have a few days’ grace before you got over your hangovers & uploaded the pics… Now you just use your phones to instantly upload your carnival pics (and simultaneously piss me off) #sourvibes.”
  • Another tweet summed up the joy of the Trinidad week: “J’ouvert in the morning, Carnival Monday and Tuesday...Manu vs Real, arsenal vs bayern on Wednesday, thursday look 4 a valentines YES!"  
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