Artistes need to protect their rights

I read recently that the Marley family had hired a firm in Canada to look after its rights management issues as it relates to Bob Marley’s image. The report said the family were losing money because many across the world were exploiting the King of Reggae’s image.

And, I must say I commend the Marley’s for their move.  Lest we forget, Vybz Kartel and Mavado’s image were being exploited in a way in which neither were publicly pleased about recently. And while the use of their image in that particular fashion was not something they were proud of, it only shows how much money local artistes lose through exploitation daily.

While many of us will think the Marley’s are reacting unnecessarily, it is time that we as Jamaicans start understanding that an artiste is a brand and his product goes beyond his music. In other words gaining a number one hit should not be viewed as ‘dem bussing’ alone. Instead, as soon as the artiste achieves the feat of a number one record anywhere on the planet he or she should start taking steps to protect their rights and image.

For too long, Jamaican artistes have allowed their photos and images to be used without thinking that they are losing out on potential revenue. If the product that their image endorses becomes popular, the artiste loses out because he or she did not secure their rights.

You see, an artiste protecting is or her rights should not be viewed as a ‘fight ‘gainst poor people’. Instead it should be viewed as the artistes securing their pension. For too long many of our artistes have spent their last years living modestly or in poverty for one reason or another. And, some of the very same people who exploited them (whether it be their images or through piracy) are the same ones who belittle them. And if that’s not bad enough these artistes are sometimes dependent on public assistance for help. While it can be argued that some artistes waste their resources in the ‘good times’, we must acknowledge that they are exploited by some of the same people who say they are fans.

Hence, I commend the Marley’s actions. While many of our dancehall celebrities are not on that level yet, it is certainly an act they can follow. For too long, the fans and also the dancehall acts have viewed such exploitation as publicity and not for what it is – full blooded exploitation.

So I say to the Marley’s hats off to you and well done!

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13 Responses to “Artistes need to protect their rights”

  1. blessedfire says:

    I personally know a ras who had a little culture shop that sold bob marley t-shirts & he was approached by the marley family goons & it was a huge confrontation where police were involved although I agree with securing certain artists images in my opinion the marley family is being greedy. Bob marley is one of the most popular persons in the globe to control who uses his image at this point in time is useless. The marley family has houses in pincrest, miami(exclusive/high end neighborhood)nuff vehicles etc. point is bob made all that money in order to secure his childrens future which he did. Remember Bob Marley is considered by some a national hero why would one limit his image I would be more sympathetic if the marley family was struggling to make ends meet but the reality is that they are not. Fire burn! for the marley family low the rastaman dem!!!!

  2. Otis Hamilton says:

    I must say hats off for any entertainer or management for securing their intellectual property.

    With that said, I must mention that I am as heartless towards the Bob Marley Foundation as the last contributor.

    I have seen too many instances where the foundation has done things to strip the actions of Bob Marley from alignment with Jamaica and Jamaicans. The directors have absolutely no desire to uplift the people of Jamaica through the work and words of the nations son and deserve absolutely no commendations for their work in fattening their pockets.

    Bob Marley was Jamaican in every way and never saw Africa until he had already started making positive influences internationally. The Marley family is hailed as royalty in South Africa, as such there has been major moves to align the ‘late great’ with that nation. I am as proud of my Afican decent as any other black man but I am Jamaican and nothing comes above that. The Marley foundation actions have nothing to do with protecting the works and image of our icon; its all about keeping it scarce so it can be sold more expensive.

  3. Keelah says:

    It’s uninformed opinions like the one above that explain why Jamaica still is not able to develop its cultural resources enough to reap the benefits for all involved. Let’s try and use logic and reason instead of emotional pleas based on faulty premises.

    There isn’t some sort of imaginary barrier that persons of a certain wealth meet that, if they gain a certain amount of wealth, should magically be activated to stop the flow of funds. The Marleys should be earning directly from the Marley image for as long as copyright law allows. Period.

    I cannot speak to the manner in which they seek to do so; I figure they are bigger entities exploiting the Marley image and it would make more sense to go after those, rather than a little roadside vendor. Perhaps that they are doing so but there’s no drama on the street for us to witness.

    All musicians, artists, writers etc. should follow suit. Securing one’s right is even more important for the minor artists than the bigger ones like the Marleys. I guarantee you that once the people of blessedfire’s philosophy prosper from your works, they will not be there to bail you out if you reach hard times. No doubt they’ll simply blame you for your supposed incompetence in managing funds and say dem have their own to look after.

  4. Dave K says:

    The other side of the coin that isn’t mentioned is that this Canadian firm that is “protecting” Bob’s image is also creating all kinds of new items to sell to capitalize on this image. These new items include Bob Marley snow-boards, of all things!

    There is a huge difference between protection and exploitation. I do not believe that Bob would be exploiting his image to this extent if he were alive. Just how much money does one person need?

    The biggest crime is the way his backing band, The Wailers, have been mistreated. They played a great role in his success, but they have been treated as if they were invisible, which is shameful.

    I truly believe that Bob wouldn’t be shutting down the poor man who is trying to feed his family by selling a T-Shirt with his picture on it.

    Bob’s legacy is one of music, and humanitarianism towards his fellow man, not trying to exploit his own image for as much money as possible. He understood the distinction between the greedy and the needy. His family should also learn this.

  5. Jack Little says:

    I hear there will be a very special performance of the LTM National Pantomime on Wednesday April 7th at 7:30 pm. The word on the streets is that there will be a surprise guest actor and actress. I wonder what that is all about?

  6. How can it be wrong for the Marley Family to protect their legacy. Too often we trample on the rights of others just because them rich and we poor. Is it logical to say then that it is ok for a man with a gun to rob me of my hard earned money just because him perceive the me rich and and need “fi eat a food?” There are proper channels to go about doing everything – that includes getting the proper license to profit off of someone’s image or intellectual property

  7. Dennis "Senitor" Allen says:

    Subject: RE: Hundreds of Artists Send Stories to Obama Administration
    Date: Fri, 26 Mar 2010 18:49:00 -0400


    This is day for all music creators celebrate *President Obama *and his
    administration (details below), Centron Music Publishing will be
    administrating this effort indirectly for music creators who have released
    music in the USA, If you and any artist need this service for all your
    releases, contact me via this email address. it’s time for those robbers and
    infringers on our rights to respect Artist and Musician works. Get
    protected! and Recoup your past losses from pirates of music works PASS IT

    Dennis “Senitor” Allen

  8. dan vass says:

    Jamaican Artists to protect their rights? Is this a joke. Jamaican singers have ripped off hundreds if not thousands foreign artist songs. Many songs from days gone by I had thought were original Jamaican songs. Wrong! As soon an American r&b is released, a Jamaican artist is in the studio with his or here version. This is a joke right?

  9. gmack says:

    While I agree that artists need to protect their image. I have a question? Isn’t Bob Marley a public figure? If so, in Jamaica wouldn’t that allow his image to be used? For example, Barack Obama’s image is printed on shirts and sold for profit in the US. He is a public figure, therefore I believe he cannot sue. Isn’t Usain Bolt now a public figure also? If a dread is selling a shirt with Usain’s image or Bob Marley’s image do they not have the right to a public image?

  10. crystal says:

    But ub40 didnt write nor sing kingston town first. it was lord creator a jamaican artists, but nobody complains.

    ofcourse jamaican artists needs to protect their rights. lilly allen made a killing from creating a whole album from jamaican old artists in the 60′s, again nobody bats an eyelid. As soon as a jamaican do it, everyone screams piracy.

  11. Chinese Jamaican Bloke says:

    Jamaican artists need to make better music

  12. Robert Delhaye says:

    Yeah… you are entering extremely difficult territory, like not all Bob Marley’s songs are in the Marley family catalogue. I’m living in Europe at the moment, and when you stop at a gas station, a supermarket or whatever you are able to buy a Bob Marley cd’s (many different one’s) for, say, $ 5. Now a closer look (hear) reveals (to insiders) that the productions are by the Upsetter Lee Perry Scratch. So Scratch owns the copy right. There is also a lot of Bunny Lee-, Coxsone Dodd- and Chris Blackwell produced stuff around. But I’m glad the Marley Family (Ziggy, Stephen, Damian etc.) have their copyright act together nowadays. But has a Jamaican recording artist ever received the money he deserves, well I haven’t, and I played on at least 500 songs…

  13. Get Up, Stand Up! says:

    The Jamaican recording artistes must study the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and stand up for their rights. Any Caribbean country that is a signatory to this treaty is in breach of the CSME if they ban any artiste. Lobby the Jamaican government to stand up for your rights. Jamaica should impose sanctions on any CSME member who prevent the free passage of any Jamaican who seeks to enter their territory for work.

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13 comments so far
francine Posted by: francine December 29, 2009 at 4:54 pm