Cayman updates copyright for digital age

The Cayman Islands has taken its first steps to modernise its intellectual property laws with the introduction of a new copyright bill that takes effect from 30 June.

From 30 June, the Copyright (Cayman Islands) Order 2015 give creators stronger copyright protection, according to the British overseas territory’s government.

Commerce minister Wayne Panton explained: “Local artists and investors have been frustrated for many years by the lack of modern IP protection in Cayman, and clamoured for improved rights.”

“With copyrights, while previous legislation offered a level of protection, it was outdated to the point where local artists could not properly protect their digital music, images and other digital creations.”

Cayman’s Ministry of Commerce also plans to present a trademark bill to the Legislative Assembly in September, giving individuals and businesses the opportunity to locally register their brands and company logos.

A local registration would also remove exclusive rights to the use of certain words that were registered in the UK, such as ‘Cayman’.

There is also no mechanism that currently allows design rights to be registered in Cayman. The government intends to rectify this by allowing design rights registered in the UK to be extended to Cayman.

The regulatory overhaul began two years ago. Cayman used the UK Copyright Act 1956, which it then had to update with the newer 1988 version.

Once the British overseas territory received approval from the UK last year, it began working on these updates for local implementation.

Panton added: “If entrepreneurs know their works will be protected in Cayman, they have an incentive to locate here, create jobs here, and spend money in our economy.”

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