Artistes urged to register with unions

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Stakeholders in The Gambia’s creative industry recently met to chart a way forward towards implementing the Collecting Society of The Gambia (CSG). This development came with the recent promulgation of the Copyright Regulations, 2018.

For far too long many Gambian artistes cried of their works being syphoned by pirates, who normally photocopy their works for monetary gains to third party agents. With this development, all artistes or stakeholders in the creative sector are urged to register with their unions or associations to be able to benefit the fruits of their labour.

Recently, ARIPO and WIPO alongside National Centre for Arts and Culture recently convened a mentorship programme that attracted consultants from Ghana and Malawi, two countries that have already made headways as far as Copy Right Law is concerned.
For Abdoulie Lie Ngum alias Abdul Kabir, a renowned musician and vice president of the Copy Right Society of The Gambia, the forum couldn’t have come at a better time than now, when many Gambian artistes died without reaping the benefits of their labour.

Ngum made reference to the massive penetration of foreign music in the country’s airwaves, acknowledging that in the past Senegal used to depend a lot on Gambian music.
With this new development, he remains upbeat about the future of Gambians music.
“We expect from now progress in the advancement of Copy Rights holders in the country. As we are all aware in The Gambia, although, the Copy Rights law was there since but was not actively implemented which has caused serious loses to intellectual property owners in the country. We expect after this sitting, the law will enhance the status of Copy Rights holders in The Gambia,” he added.
He observed that over the past three to four decades, the literary industry has been threatened with massive photocopy, especially in educational institutions.

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“You go to the campuses of educational institutions and all you see are photocopies mounted at different places. And somebody’s intellectual property has become an article of business. They reproduced these words in large quantities without the knowledge or authorization of the author or the publishers.” he stated.
Sheikh Omar Jallow, director of Creative and Performing Arts at the National Centre for Arts and Culture, who is also overseeing the mentorship programme, maintained that the Copy Rights Law is already on the move and thus advised people to protect the work of intellectual property owners.

The Copyright Act, he explained, was designed for the protection of copyright in The Gambia and matters connected therewith was passed by the National Assembly since. He stated that the Act places the administration of copyright in the National Centre Arts Culture (NCAC) and goes further to mandate the setting up of two outfits for the implementation of an effective copyright regime.

“One is the Copyright Office or Bureau under the NCAC charged specifically with the registration of works, sensitization of rights holders and users, and enforcement of compliance with the law, especially against piracy and the misuse of protected works. The other body is the Collecting Society of The Gambia (CSG) which is charged with the collection and distribution of royalties among rights holders. This is an independent body corporate that comprises rights holders with a Board constituted by representatives of individual groups of rights holders such as Writers, Publishers, Musicians, and Filmmaker’s”.
He also called on artistes and stakeholders in the creative sector to go back to the unions or association to register and give them a contract for them to work on their behalf.

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