Monday, February 22, 2010

No copyrights, no protection, no $$$!

Pearl Lewis also known as ‘Precious Pearl’ is fighting to win this year’s calypso crown but she is also fighting to boot a contestant out of this year’s Carib Soca Monarch competition on an accusation that the woman has stolen the words of a song she originally wrote.

Pearl Lewis

But while Precious Pearl is accusing Barbara Nedd known as ‘Lady Barbara’- a finalist in this year’s soca competition- of “criminally and maliciously” stealing her song, Lady Barbara says it is nothing of the sort as while her song titled “I Want a Man” has the same rhythm as a song she and Precious Pearl once collaborated on, the lyrics are not the same.

According to Pearl, she was “completely shocked” when she heard her song titled “24/7 Man” being sung by Barbara on 98.1 fm and she made a valiant attempt to stop her from performing the song at the competition’s semifinal in Linden last weekend.

The Scene contacted the organizers of the competition and they confirmed that a complaint was lodged by Pearl but pointed out that there is not much they can do as there is no intellectual property law in Guyana. Further, it was pointed out that Pearl has no way of proving that the song being sung by Barbara is hers.

“It would be unfair for us to push someone out of the competition based on the allegation of another,” one of the organizers told The Scene.

But Pearl is not letting up and she has labelled the alleged stealing of her song as “banditry” by Barbara with whom she had collaborated in 2005 for a song which saw her being the songwriter and Barbara the performer and which they entered into that year’s Road March Competition. The agreement, according to Pearl, was that should the song win, the prize money would have been divided equally, but the idea was later aborted after Barbara allegedly “started portraying some greedy and covetous traits” and operating as if the song belonged to her. She confirmed that Barbara had added the “small action piece for the road which was inadvertently left out” and which amounted to eight lines.

Barbara Nedd

It’s just the eight lines from the original song that are now part of the song being sung by Barbara who has since told The Scene that she would “feel small to use any words from Precious Pearl.” Barbara, a former police officer who has been singing for 26 years and has written all of her songs in the past, flat out denied the allegations by Pearl and is questioning the motive behind the accusation.

She recalled that Pearl who she met some years ago had said she wanted to become a singer “to add meaning to her life” and the song was originally a poem when Pearl first showed it to her.

“I am not going to tell you any lie they were good words and I just had to put a chorus to it,” she told The Scene. She said she paid for the song to be arranged and she recorded the song and they agreed to enter it into the Road March competition.

“Out of the blue one Sunday morning Miss Pearl Lewis called me and told me that we have to see a lawyer and sign a contract which would say that 60 per cent of any money made from the song will go to her and 40 per cent will go to me. I said ‘No way’ because it is my money use to record it, it is my voice and it when I have to perform is my energy,” the woman told The Scene.

She said it was at that point she decided to pull out and although many persons encouraged her to remain in the competition as it was a good song she wanted no further dealings with Pearl. She said Pearl did refund her a small percentage of the money she used to record the song and she accepted it on the urging of her then boss after Pearl had gone to his office “and behave bad”.

According to Barbara, the song she is singing now does not have any of Pearl’s words but it does have the eight lines she had added to the original song. She challenged Pearl to bring her original song to compare it with the one she is now singing.

And while Pearl is calling on the soca organizers to get rid of Barbara, the woman said she plans to continue on the competition and is looking towards winning the crown. She suggested that Pearl channel her energy towards winning her competition also instead of attempting to get her thrown out of soca competition.

“Why is this woman doing this to me, what have I done to her?” a bewildered sounding Barbara questioned.

From Stabroek News

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