Reggaenomics: The Relationship Between Copyright Law and Development in the Jamaican Music Industry
One argument posits that copyright is necessary for incentivising creative expressions. To what extent does this hold true for individual copyright-based sectors in a developing nation’s economy? Although Jamaica’s Copyright Act 1993 complies with the major copyright treaties, little is known about whether (and how) the copyright regime allows the Jamaican music industry to foster national development. Accordingly, the focus of this thesis is to examine the developmental impact of the copyright system on the Jamaican music industry. This thesis traces the evolution of the local music industry and its complex interaction with copyright law. This research assesses the various approaches to economic development and highlights the limitations of a collective management-based approach and weaknesses in the individual rights management model. It also analyses the compatibility between a human development approach to copyright and the theoretical justifications for copyright. It points out substantive areas of the domestic copyright legislation that could be reformed in order to improve the statute’s applicability to the music industry insofar as development is concerned. This thesis adopts a qualitative methodological approach and uses interviews from 57 music industry participants. The findings suggest that societal context is as important as the legal rights, in giving copyright owners incentives to create. Historical, political, socio-cultural, economic and institutional factors play a key role in shaping stakeholders’ treatment of copyright. Music industry players’ experiences can help inform policymaking by fostering a better understanding of the implications of copyright protection for this vital sector of the economy.