Jamaicans gather at reggae conference to brainstorm ways of boosting homegrown music

IndustriesAssociated Press

Jamaican government officials, lawyers and creative types have held a reggae conference to hash over ways of securing a competitive advantage with the homegrown music that long ago went global.

Industry Minister Anthony Hylton was one of the officials attending Kingston's "international reggae day" gathering Wednesday.

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Hylton describes reggae as "part of the heart and soul of Jamaica." But he says the struggling local music industry needs to be protected and monetized with a "modern intellectual property regime."

After years of offering only piecemeal support for reggae, Jamaica's government is increasingly viewing the music and other cultural enterprises as a potential economic engine for the island.

Hylton says Jamaican lawmakers have recently amended laws to extend local copyright terms from 50 to 95 years, among other changes.