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Copyright

Copyright, simply means the right to copy, is a collective term for a bundle of economic and moral rights granted by law to authors (or creators) of original 'works of the mind' in literature, drama, art and music. The Antigua & Barbuda Copyright Act 2003, The Dominica Copyright Act 2003, The Grenada Copyright Act 1989, St. Kitts & Nevis Copyright Act 2002, Saint Lucia Copyright Act 2000 and The St. Vincent & the Grenadines Copyright Act 2003 all give these authors sole right to publish, distribute, reproduce or authorise the reproduction of their works in any form. This is in recognition of the importance of their intellectual property to the development of society. Without protection and financial reward, there would be little incentive for creators to produce new works.

For printed publications, the law recognises two forms of copyright: authors' and publishers'. The author, as creator of the content, must give permission to the publisher (by way of contract) to publish the work. The publishers' own copyright is in the typographical arrangement of the published edition. For a literary work, the author is the writer. For a photograph, the author is the person taking the photograph; for a musical work the author is the person who is the composer of the score or of the lyrics; and for an artistic work, the author is the artist.

The importance of copyright is recognised internationally and many countries, including the Eastern Caribbean, subscribe to a number of international conventions and trade agreements, which establish minimum standards of protection for, copyrighted works.

The most important of these are the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the TRIPS Agreement for the management of global trade in intellectual property administered by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).