Dec 10 2008
"Music en Folie" seems to have changed it's name to "CD en Fete".
The bootleg RAM CD's, that I see advertised in the Nouvelliste, to be sold are: Ayibobo, Kite Yo Pale, Best of and Puritain Vodou.
None of these CD's are being sold legally and I get no compensation when they are sold.
Slave Fest, a nickname which I gave the festival, is being held across the street from the new US Embassy at the Park Historique de L'Esclavaj, more commonly referred to by it's official name, the Park Historique de La Canne a Sucre.
To legitimize contraband in Haiti seems to be one of the purposes of the festival. Placing the contraband festival across from the new US Embassy, and down the street from the UN Camps, gives Haitian SlaveFest international recognition.
The Nouvelliste, Ticket Magazine and the Park Historique are all aware that the festival includes bootleg CD's.
December 11 2008
Coca Cola is on of the most recognized trademarks in the world. When i saw that they were sponsoring a CD selling event in which illegal copies of my CD's were being sold, it made me wonder; does this mean I have the right to sell fake Coca Cola in Coca Cola bottles? Can I sell homemade brews in the trademarked Coca Cola bottle? Old Testament values: eye for an eye?
What are the implications of people making illegal CD's in the United States and then shipping them to Haiti to be sold at a CD festival ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE NEW AMERICAN EMBASSY?
Coca Cola isn't the only sposor for the CD festival which I like to refer to as "Slave Fest". Comme Ils Faut, Haiti's major cigarette manufacturing company is a sponsor. (Imagine what would happen if I was making fake Comme Il Faut Cigarettes and illegally using their trademarks to sell them).
Rhum Barbancourt, Haiti's world famous rum, is a sponsor of the CD festival I like to refer to as "Slave Fest". How would they like fake Barbancourt rum being sold in their bottles? How would they like an inferior product being used to replace that "special" rum for "connaisseurs"?
Voila, the phone company, who's front person, Wyclef Jean, makes his money in the music business, is a sponsor. How would they feel if people started selling fake phone cards on the streets of Port-au-Prince?
I'm sure all the companies would bring teams of lawyers, the justice ministry and the police in on the scene at the blink of an eye.
I've got festivals in New York and Boston and Miami using my band to promote their upcoming events without having contacted me or secured a deal with me. At what point do these actions become Federal Crimes? At what point do people start getting arrested? I don't have the money to keep a team of lawyers on payroll.
Every year I watch bootleg compilations being sold with RAM songs included. I see low quality bootleg videos being sold on the streets, being played in peoples homes. What can i do about it? Nothing, really. However, when Coca Cola and Rhum Barbancourt and Wyclef Jean's official sponsor get in on the action, then things begin to take on a different flavor. Thats when I can yell "AMMMWEEEEEY!!" Thats right, I can holler, I can't really do anything else....
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