As part of the Ministry of Commerce's modernisation of intellectual property rights and responsibilities, the UK has extended its 1988 Copyright Act to Cayman.
The Act has been extended by the Copyright (Cayman Islands) Order 2015, which was passed by the UK Privy Council on 19 March.
The Copyright (Cayman Islands) Order 2015 will revoke the extension of the UK's 1956 Copyright Act to the Cayman Islands, and replace it with the extension of the UK's 1988 Copyright Act, subject to the changes indicated in the Order. The changes reflected in the Order were requested by the Cayman Islands Government.
'Cayman's intellectual property legislation - the big three of which are copyrights, patents, and trade marks - affects all commerce, from financial services to creative endeavours', said Minister of Commerce Wayne Panton.
He acknowledged that for an inordinately long time, successive governments have heard from local entrepreneurs and artists, as well as from potential investors, who need the security provided by stronger intellectual property (IP) protection either to safeguard their current works, to engage in either the development of new business, or to relocate business to Cayman.
'These persons recognise the importance of having IP rights. They also understand that having those rights also means exercising the responsibility to uphold them, by not infringing upon the rights of others', Minister Panton said.
He explained that copyright modernisation, with the first step being the extension of the UK's 1988 Act, is a major piece of Cayman's overall IP modernisation initiative.
'Without the extension, Cayman still would be bound by the UK's 1956 Copyright Act. That Act was enacted some 60 years ago', Minister Panton said. 'To put this into perspective, let's look at copyrighting for music alone, and think about how music is made and distributed today. There was nothing like digital sampling, or digital music downloading to mobile phones and tablets, back in 1956'.
The IP modernisation initiative will also be the backbone of another ongoing major initiative to enhance and develop a significant information technology sector, as part of the domestic economy.
Although passed, the Order will not come into force in the Cayman Islands until a commencement date has been determined. It is anticipated that there will be at least a six-month period before commencement, to allow the Ministry of Commerce to conduct a public education campaign and to make necessary arrangements for local implementation.
More information on the UK's IP protection framework, including the 1988 Copyright Act, is available on www.gov.uk/government/organisations/intellectual-property-office.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.