Dominica claims millions from Brazil in Berne Convention dispute

Cadance maestro Gordon Henderson is the central figure in the dispute
Cadance maestro Gordon Henderson is the central figure in the dispute

Dominican songwriters can be hopeful that their copyright interests, particularly their Moral Rights, will be protected outside of their home country by diplomatic intervention of the Government of Dominica when these rights are infringed in countries that are signatories to the Berne Convention.

The Berne Convention, which came into force in 1886 and to which Dominica became a party in 1999, is the most important international treaty that addresses international protection of copyright.

Dominica’s Ministry for Trade was swift in acting on behalf of one of Dominica’s most celebrated songwriters whose popular song “Jamais voir ça” was adapted and plagiarized into a Portuguese version titled “Quero Voce” without permission or acknowledgement resulting in sales of over three million copies in Brazil. (Find You Tube versions of both songs below as well as a biography in Wikipedia of the Brazilian singer Carlos Santos)

Warner Chappell Music, one of the largest music publishers in the world with offices in every major city, is the publisher to whom the transferable rights in the song have been assigned. The publishers are currently taking steps to recover damages and other compensation regarding the infringement of the economic rights in the song.

However because the moral rights are inalienable and non-transferable from the author , seeking redress and compensation for infringements of Moral rights remain the sole prerogative of the creator of the work who in this case is Gordon Henderson as lyricist and composer of the song which was first recorded by the group Exile One in 1976.

Dominica’s Minister for Trade, Ian Douglas a lawyer by profession, has been apprised of the matter and felt such a case created an opportunity for the Government to play a diplomatic role in seeking a swift solution of this case of plagiarism which has denied a Dominican citizen his just reward which would redound to the economic benefit of the island and help position Dominican music as a primary contender in the World Music industry.

Matthan Walter, Director of Trade (Ag) in the Ministry for Trade, versed in International Trade and copyright issues, confirmed in January 2016 that the necessary information and advice had been collated and drafted for the attention of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade who is also the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs “and for onward transmission to the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs through which diplomatic notes are channeled.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been duly informed of the situation by the Ministry of Trade in line with procedures of the Government of Dominica. The Minister of Foreign Affairs is actively considering the matter to determine how the Ministry can assist in resolving the matter through diplomatic channels with Brazil.

The Ministry for Trade notes that in keeping with its duties and fiduciary responsibilities towards Dominican entrepreneurs engaged in international trade in services and/or goods, recovering such sums for any Dominican copyright owner is good for both the owner of the work and the national economy in much the same way that the United States Government is now actively engaged with Caribbean Governments to stop infringement and non –compensation of United States copyright interests in films and music by Cable operators and broadcasters in the Caribbean region.

According to a source from that Ministry, “Countries of the Caribbean are increasingly concerned about the recognition and development of the creative industries which have been ignored for much too long. Prime Minister Skerrit during the budget address of 2015 had personally embarked on a drive with the musicians promising to begin with an input of half a million dollars. Unfortunately, TS Erika has put a temporary hold on this.”

The Ministry has also declared that it expects this matter to be resolved quickly and amicably since Dominica and Brazil have excellent diplomatic relations and are both members of the Berne Convention and thus recognize “Minimum Standards for copyright legislation” inclusive of moral rights which is a key provision of that Treaty. Additionally as signatories to the Convention both countries have committed to the principle of national treatment which gives Dominica copyright owners the same rights in Brazil as Brazilians and vice-versa.

Gordon Henderson, the central figure of this dispute said, “I have many options, but the diplomatic option serves me well since it allows me to be able to share my successes directly and indirectly with my fellow Dominican citizens.”

Both versions of the song  are posted below.

 

https://youtu.be/Wr03cGUTNT4

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34 Comments

  1. yep
    March 17, 2016

    WOW! same thing! not even a flimsy attempt to hide it

  2. darney severin
    March 16, 2016

    Peter i think that you are damn rude to have made sutch a comment about Gordon would have been poor if it was not for Mc,Marie. You do not know Gordon as i do, yet you both went to the same school St Marys Academy, I know his parents from Portsmouth and i know your father and your mother, Let me ask you this question,Would you have been poor if it was,nt for your father. If your answer is yes i don,t believe it, because you got an education from St Marys and so did Gordon.The deference is he choose music

    • Jimmy Honore
      March 17, 2016

      Dominicans can see what Peter Karam thinks of poor people who are his clients. So Peter thinks without that song he could look down at Gordon as a pauper. Peter is wrong. Gordon was involved in copyright before Mark and Peter knows jolly well that Gordon has earned a decent living with his music.

  3. Fight for what is yours
    March 16, 2016

    Salute to gordon Henderson, you have shown great example by standing up on an international platform to fight for what is yours and by extension for Dominican music. I hope our music industry is taking note, stand up and defend what is ours!

  4. Peter Karam
    March 15, 2016

    all I hope dat Gordon will share de millions with Mark Marie is all am saying,,,,, if it was not for Mark Marie, Gordon wud be a poor man today,,,

    • Jimmy Honore
      March 16, 2016

      Ask Mark Marie who introduced him to copyright and you’lloyd@lloydstanbury.com be surprised.

    • Jimmy Honore
      March 16, 2016

      Peter Karam, asked Mark Marie who introduced him to copyright. You will be surprised. Gordon is safer than you think.

  5. Not a herd follower
    March 15, 2016

    While it is good to see that the MoT is doing something positive or try to do something positive, one cannot help but notice the smugness, self-praise, in the release.

    • Official
      March 16, 2016

      This article was not written by any Official in the Ministry responsible for Trade; same was drafted by Mr. Henderson himself.

      • Jimmy Honore
        March 17, 2016

        Is it suggested anywhere in the article that the Ministry for Trade wrote this article? Are the quotations included inaccurate or false? What are you suggesting? Speak…

  6. Observer
    March 15, 2016

    Check this out; plagiarism of Jeff Jo
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAlLNHAqH_4

    • Jimmy Honore
      March 15, 2016

      No comparison. Why bring this up?

    • March 16, 2016

      its about time we make people pay us for our talent

  7. eyes to see
    March 15, 2016

    well…. well…. well… lets see who will get that bill. smells like there is something that will be passing under the table considering that the services will be personally given even though that the minister has a 100% employment with the commonwealth of Dominica. i guess that he have nutting to do.

    doe cry corruption after the fact and look for the houses that are built…. look at the laws and catch them in the act.

    • Jimmy Honore
      March 15, 2016

      What bill?

  8. March 15, 2016

    Oh shut up

  9. zagayan
    March 15, 2016

    Gordon, chien tay di sa ki saw’ say saw’. Voila!

  10. Jimmy Honore
    March 15, 2016

    We are proud of Ian Douglas for taking entertainment industry seriously.

  11. Calibishie Warrior
    March 15, 2016

    Sounds like the same melody to me (different key?) .. I wonder how provable this kind of plagiarism is?

    • Jimmy Honore
      March 16, 2016

      Even a deaf can hear that this is the same song. In fact the theives admitted it. Go on Wikipedia.

    • Give Jack His Jacket
      March 16, 2016

      This is very provable. The keys are the same, an entire bar even. This is my first time hearing both songs and you can’t tell the difference. Copyright is a hell of a thing.

      • Jimmy Honore
        March 17, 2016

        It is the same song. Even the thieves have admitted that….Google and find out.

    • black beauty
      March 16, 2016

      Calisishie Warrior. Provable? did u listen to the two, it’s the same song different language

  12. Bagaila Bande
    March 15, 2016

    Omg!! These guys just think because Dominica is the size of a small stone in Brazil they could get away with it.

  13. Jimmy Honore
    March 15, 2016

    Dominican songwriters should take a cue. Learn the business. Register and publish your songs. The world is listening.

    • Jr
      March 15, 2016

      And stop use peoplè melody to.make redim

  14. Doc. Love
    March 15, 2016

    Until such time that Gordon can tell Dominicans that he has received a check for the voleuring of his song, I will not believe anything them fellers like Ian and Skeritt are telling Gorgon. I don’t trust Skeritt and them feller doing anything to assist Gordon. Remember what happened to Danny Lugay and the Goodwill Improvement Committee. If Skerittt does not have his tentacles in anything that is produced or organized in Dominica, don’t expect any positive actions.

    • Jimmy Honore
      March 17, 2016

      Gordon has many options. He can engage this in an amicable settlement or take the matter to the courts.
      Government alone can use the diplomatic channel if they wish.
      If they do not, Gordon’s money will still be obtained only we will see how government serves its citizens and how much importance is given to music as an exportable product.

  15. Moi
    March 15, 2016

    “…and drafted for the attention of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade who is also the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs…”

    How the heck can one person be the PS in two Ministries? That must be a superhuman…..

    • AHWADAT
      March 15, 2016

      The bloke is not superhuman, there are just too many Ministries, some of them useless. Compare DA with Jamaica where the new government has a complement of 14 Ministries

  16. d-a born
    March 15, 2016

    Not just Brazil…you should hear those constant rip-offs and remixes the Puerto Rican and DR artists make of dancehall songs.

    • Me
      March 15, 2016

      Come on, and you are saying that those cowboys on the streets of Roseau do not sell pirated music?

  17. cameron
    March 15, 2016

    Gordon will get what is due to him,Skerrit you and Colin PIPER REFUSED HIM AN AWARD BUT MONEY IS TALKING NOW.KARMA KARMA.

    • smdh
      March 15, 2016

      Karma? Karma only applies if someone does or doesnt do something to you, and something in return happens or doesn’t happen to them. In this case nothing happened to nor didn’t happen to Skerrit nor Piper. Call it a stroke of luck with due diligence. Not Karma.

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