ECCO Says Their Days Are Numbered.
THE General Manager of the Eastern Caribbean Collective Organisation for Music Rights (ECCO) has issued a warning to music pirates who operate at roadsides with their “stolen” goods, saying that their days are numbered.
Steve Etienne told The VOICE that music piracy is rampant in St. Lucia just like it is around the world. However, the bodies responsible for putting a stop to it need to step up and be more forceful in stamping out the problem.
“Piracy”, he said, “is not a ‘little man on the street’ problem; it’s a state problem and I think if the state is serious about piracy, they would do something about it”.
One of the issues, he said, is that there is currently a conundrum between a lack of jobs and people seemingly making a living which could possibly be the reason why The Castries Constituency Council continues to give permits allowing people to ply an illegal trade on the streets.
With that said, the ECCO GM said society is greedy to have something without paying for it or being able to afford it. This attitude spans across a number of topics ranging from praedial larceny to rape.
Etienne said: “You know that a guy doesn’t own a banana field, yet still you buy the bananas off his back for $2 knowing that he has stolen it from someone else. I think that extends to the way that we treat our people and if I really want to go deeper at this point, I could talk about why rape is so rampant. It’s having something that you should not…because it’s there, it doesn’t mean that you have to take it and I think that we have this kind of attitude. I think until we wake up and start being human beings, we will continue to support these things which are wrong”.
Etienne said the creators of music, musicians and artistes themselves need to toughen up and stop depending on some institution to fight for them. He warned that their soft approach and their habit of turning a blind eye to the situation will only secure their downfall. “If you can have any tolerance towards crime”, he said, “you will never get rid of the crime”.
Etienne said the individuals selling the music illegally should be pulled aside and asked whether they wished to enter into an agreement where they become legitimate wholesalers and make a profit off the music.
Should they agree, their needs should be met and they should help towards the proceeds of the industry as well as themselves. Should they choose not to, then they should be arrested for selling stolen goods.
The GM said ECCO has no authority to take any physical action towards the perpetrators as this responsibility lies with Customs and the Police. However, ECCO was in constant dialogue with the police.
Etienne said he thought the problem went much deeper into organised crime, adding that the piracy was only the tip of the iceberg.
On one occasion, he said, police raided three different facilities simultaneously and confiscated CDs which were all supplied by one master.
Etienne said whilst the Police and the CCC need to step up, the consumers need to play their part as well. He said: “Consumers know that they ought not to buy stolen goods”.