Minister demands Kanye withdraw Ja-branded items online

KINGSTON – Entertainment Minister Olivia Grange, has demanded the withdrawal of items of clothing and other products with the country’s national symbols, that are being sold online.

Jamaica branded items

Grange issued the statement in the aftermath of a concert held here by US rapper Kanye West. The items were being sold on West’s online store.

The merchandise were being offered for sale just hours after West held his concert – dubbed “Sunday Service” at Emancipation Park last week.

The move to sell the items triggered concerns over possible copyright infringement regarding the island’s sovereign national symbols and emblems.

“It has come to my attention that items of clothing printed with national symbols and emblems are being offered for sale online,” Grange stated.

“We neither received a request for nor did we give permission for our national symbols and emblems to be used for a commercial manner or otherwise.  I have since requested that the items be withdrawn and the vendor has agreed to do so.”

“I noticed Kanye West and members of his choir wearing similarly emblazoned items during their special performance in Kingston last night, but I was not aware at the time that the costumes were being sold online,” the release stated.

The Entertainment Minister added that several years ago, when she first served as Minister, she established a committee to review and devise a strategy for dealing with the proper use of Jamaica’s emblems and symbols.

“That work was stopped at the change of administrations. I have been granted permission to re-establish the committee and to continue the work.”

She said that  the membership of the committee with include representatives of the Office of the Prime Minister, the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office, the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport and others.