Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) Charles Campbell who is the Vice-Chairman of the , says it is imperative to establish a trademark for Jamaican reggae that will help protect, preserve and promote the authentic brand for it to maintain competitiveness globally.
He said "JaRIA is membership driven and I must say honestly, as a criticism, I haven't seen many of these faces at our monthly meetings. And so, we can't just be musicians, we can't just be promoters," he said. "We need to not just know about our business, we need to be actively involved in the decision-making process."
Campbell made these observations at a workshop on management of copyright staged jointly by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO).
It took place at the Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts in St Andrew.
"Reggae is now such a big product that everybody wants to claim it. So we are at the point where we can no longer honestly claim to be the headquarters of reggae," Campbell said.
"We have to ensure that the record is set straight and Jamaica is recognised as the birthplace of reggae," he added.
It is well known that in Europe, there are hundreds of thriving ska bands while there are only two in Jamaica, and they are struggling to survive. Some foreign bands now have token musicians touring with the band giving the illusion to the marketplace that this is authentic reggae," he explained.
Some members of the audience differed with Campbell. Singer Imara was not comfortable with his statement that "France is now the capital of reggae."
"As a practitioner inna this business, this is I and I thing. It burn my heart fi wi siddung inside yah soh and hear sey France is now the reggae capital. Is like wi surrender what wi have at all time to those who come in and say 'this is mine'."
A man describing himself as an aspiring producer was even more direct.
"I did not understand Charles (Campbell). It didn't make sense to me, to try and limit the exposure of reggae to the rest of the world. If the Chinese, and Japanese and the French want to the play the music, I think is a benefit to us. Because Jamaica is a small pond as it relates to reggae," he said.