Recording artists and musicians, coders and app developers, and just about everyone else in the Cayman’s business world are likely to be impacted by intellectual property reform.
In a matter of weeks, the country’s suite of outdated IP laws will be replaced, and many in various industries welcome the reform.
In terms of modern technology, vintage video game Pac-Man is a dinosaur. But even more out of date, according to intellectual property expert Sophie Davies, are Cayman’s suite of IP laws.
“The current legislation still dates back to 1956,” said Ms. Davies.
She told Cayman 27 government is working to implement new laws for copyright and trademarks by the end of the first quarter of 2016.
“It’s so wide ranging in terms of copyright that businesses generally should feel like they’ve got a stronger level of protection and want to produce more work in Cayman,” she explained.
In the tech-heavy Special Economic Zone, the new law could remove what has been a stumbling block for some companies keen on doing business in Cayman Enterprise City.
“That was an issue that kept certain people out of the Special Economic Zone, or at least out of the Special Economic Zone for the time being, we expect that with the new protections in places that many of those clients, and any new clients as well, will now be interested in setting up a physical presence here,” said Cayman Enterprise City CEO Charlie Kirkconnell.
Local recording artist Josh Pearl said knowing the new laws will better protect his work gives him the confidence to keep creating.
“I feel like everyone should be paid their worth, and the time they put into their craft, they should get it right back,” said Mr. Pearl, who may best be known for Sav Side Story and the recent single “My Homies”.
“The intellectual property area is going to be a great revenue earner certainly for the Cayman Islands government, but it also can be a good creator of jobs,” said Chamber of Commerce CEO Wil Pineau.
He told Cayman 27 the new laws will help sharpen the historically fuzzy margins around the edges of the old law.
“As you know,there’s been some issues with content and other intellectual property that’s in some cases being pirated by some,” explained Mr. Pineau. “So at the end of the day this will bring some parity and some oversight over this which has been an issue that’s been lingering for many years.”
Under the new laws, copyright owners will be able to report possible infringing goods on their way into the country, and customs will have the authority to seize those goods.