Copyright gap in Central America fixed in Guatemala and Panama

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Guatemalan society AEI and Panamanian society SPAC sign a landmark agreement with satellite television company SKY. Photo ©: Yira Alvaez 

A landmark licensing agreement was achieved on May 17th between Guatemalan society AEI and Panamanian society SPAC with the multinational satellite television company SKY. The agreement is the first of its kind signed in Central America.

Supported by CISAC through its Member Support Programme and the MoU of Mexico, AEI and SPAC signed the agreement in Panama City on a percentage rate basis on total subscribers and advertising income, with annual increases. In a short time, this is expected to reach international tariff standards. 

The license is the first granted in open and cable television in the 10-year history of AEI, including in the period since obtaining legal authorization as a collective management organization in Guatemala. AEI received international support at the CISAC Latin American and the Caribbean Committee in Antigua on May 25th and 26th.

SACM Licensing and Collections Manager Luis Cecilio Orozco said: "SKY is giving an example to the great users of radio, television and cable in Central America that authors and composers deserve the same treatment in this sub region as in countries with greater economic development."

There still is work to be done. CISAC Manager for Central America Carlos Bahamondez indicated that "losses suffered by authors and composers due to the lack of radio, television and cable licenses in Central America and the Dominican Republic are over $40 million dollars in the last 5 years." 

CISAC Manager for Central America Carlos Bahamondez, MoU Mexico Group Coordinator Luis Cecilio Orozco and AEI Chairperson Jorge Estrada and SPAC Chairperson Sergio Cortés participated in the signing with SKY, who was represented by attorney Alfonso Lua. The Head of Panama Copyright Office, Isis Rivera de González, presided over the signing.

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The license is the first granted for open and cable television in AEI's history.