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Faith-based members empowered with knowledge to protect intellectual property and how to avoid violations

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Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 17, 2023 (SKNIS): Faith-based representatives were exposed to an insightful presentation on Intellectual Property and the Church during an interactive discussion organized by the Ministry of Ecclesiastical and Faith-based Affairs.

The educational session was held on Thursday (March 16, 2023) at the Pentecostal Church of God at Boone Avenue. Jihan Williams, Registrar of the Intellectual Property Office, guided the discussion which touched on many issues including intellectual property concepts, copyright and the church, international treaties, live stream violations and more.

More than 40 persons participated in the session. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs, the Honourable Dr. Geoffrey Hanley, said that the government planned the session to ensure that original content created by the faith-based community is protected while respecting regional and international intellectual property rights.

“The pastors and faith-based leaders who are here have been very engaged in the presentation, a very fantastic presentation, and the energy and questions that you are getting from them indicate that they now have to go back to their church boards and other bodies to look at how they will make changes to their format, ensuring that they are not in violation of any breaches,” Dr. Hanley stated.

Pastor Altina Ponteen of the Resurrection and Life Church found the copyright infringement rules, particularly during live streams on social media, extremely useful. The information shared will allow members to carefully navigate rule violations that sometimes result in content being flagged or removed by YouTube or Meta algorithms. She had a very pointed message for the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs at the end of the session.

“I would say to them, congratulations for thinking about and undertaking such an event,” Pastor Ponteen stated, adding that the involvement of the church is always a welcomed initiative. “I think what is happening right now is really good, and it brings everything into coherence that will ensure everything flows smoothly.”

Pastor Phillip Webbe, District Overseer for the five Churches of God of Prophecy in St. Kitts, shared similar sentiments quoting Hosea 4:6 which notes that people are “destroyed for lack of knowledge” if they reject such knowledge.

As a pastor delivering and a singer/songwriter, Pastor Webbe added that he now knows his rights as a creator of intellectual property and pledged to use the knowledge effectively to protect his works where necessary.

Deputy Prime Minister Hanley explained that the government will continue to build relations with the faith-based community. He thanked all of the people who participated in the meeting.

“It shows that the ministry is really going in the right direction, ensuring that we feed our faith-based organizations with adequate information that can help them empower not only their congregations but the communities that they serve,” said Dr. Hanley.

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