The Eastern Caribbean Collective Organization for music rights, (ECCO) has won a landmark copyright case in the High Court against Mega Plex Entertainment which operates Caribbean Cinemas in St. Lucia and regionally.In a civil suit, ECCO sued Mega Plex for copyright infringement and asked the court for damages.Court rules in favor of ECCOThe ruling in favor of the ECCO, was handed down last week by Justice Godfrey Smith who found the cinema was liable for infringing the rights of ECCO’s members.A second hearing will address the matter of an assessment of damages.Great achievement ECCO’s CEO, Steve Etienne, called the ruling a “great achievement for ECCO and the wider Caribbean…..We have long sought a judgment that we can refer to when taking action against abusers of our rights – abusers of copyright.”ECCO Chairman, Shayne Ross urged all users of music to obtain a license from the organization. “We are not just going after people. What we are aiming to do is to secure the rights for the creators of music. If those rights are not secured, then really and truly the business we as creators are involved in is not worthwhile for us,” Ross said.Caribbean Cinemas had not obtained a license from ECCO before airing movies containing music sound tracks.ECCO’s Legal Counsel, Thaddeus Antoine, declared the judgment makes it clear that ECCO is entitled to represent foreign music owners.Ruling helps other territories “The significance of the judgment is that it helps other territories like Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Jamaica,” Antoine explained. He disclosed the case has been ongoing for some seven years. It was once struck out but was reinstated by the Court of Appeal.“The cinema airs movies and in airing the movies there’s music within the movies. The music within the movies is owned by people. Those who own that music are persons represented by ECCO. Therefore, ECCO is entitled to a portion of the revenue for those movies being aired, and music being aired within those movies,” the Attorney at Law stated.He said essentially the cinema was saying that ECCO doesn’t control those rights which the cinema had obtained from another institution.However, Antoine said ECCO argued it was the only legally recognized authority in Saint Lucia to issue those rights. The court agreed.