Saturday, February 24, 2007
ASSIST AFRICAN MUSICIANS
The President of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), Alhaji Sidiku Buari has appealed to the International community to assist the African musicians to overcome modern day challenges.
He made the call during the Wipo-ASIS pacific Regional Symposium on Performer Rights in the Digital Network in China.
It was organized by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in cooperation with the National Copyright Administration of the People’s Republic of China (NCAC) and with assistance from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of KOREA.
Speaking on the topic “Between Art and Profession: performers View”, he said the time has come for the international community to help promote African music to bring it to an appreciable level. According to him, piracy which has for a long time been a problem for African musicians has been compounded by technology advancement which enabled people to download music on the internet. This move he noted tends to deprive the musicians from enjoying the fruits of their labour.
Alhaji Sidiku, who is the Vice president of the International Federation of Musicians, noted that musicians in general and African musician in particular could be assisted immensely if measures could be put in place to minimize or eliminate the problem of downloading from the internet. He said Africa has the potential to contribute effectively to the promotion of global music if the necessary assistance is given.
Alhaji Sidiku appealed to musicians on the continent to forge ahead in unity so that activities of pirates who take advantage of them could be brought to an end.
He noted that entertainment music is one of the biggest industries in the world today and in Ghana and indeed Africa, until recently music was a potential industry with bright prospects. However, lack of appropriate cultural development strategies and funding, has undermined human and institutional capacity to maximally exploit the cultural potentials in Africa.
According to Alhaji Sidiku for a long time, musicians and artistes in Africa have not been regarded as serious entrepreneurs whose industry needs the kind of incentives accorded other professionals. He said through common practice African musicians are expected to entertain for free and at times depend wholly on the generosity of the audience.
Alhaji Sidiku said musicians are not accorded professional status since they lack a strong and effective body to lobby for them and champion their cause. Even those whose main occupation is music are in the informal sector, which is largely unregulated and do not enjoy social security benefits, have no pension scheme, no protection of their intellectual property rights or insurance and their works are constantly pirated.
Musicians and other related artistes are therefore forced to do other jobs to supplement their incomes thus giving divided attention to their profession. Indeed these people do not have rights and privileges that they should naturally have.
Alhaji Sidiku said it is regrettable that many of Africa’s budding musicians have perfected the art of copying and have become copycats. They expend all their energies trying to sound like the Michael Jackson’s 50 Cents, Jay, Z, Beyonce, P.Diddy etc. This is so because the youth who are the largest consumers of music do not sufficiently appreciate local music thereby compelling the artiste to imitate Western style music to ensure their survival. Yet Africa has excellent melodies and beats which are appealing and thrilling to music lovers even those in the developed world.
The Vice Minister for the National Copyright Administration of the Republic of China (NCAC) Mr. Yan Xiaohong said China has established a legal system that protects copyright.
He said the people‘s court at various levels in china are responsible for the hearing of copyright infringement cases.
He said the Copyright Administration has organized special campaigns nationwide to educate the people in key areas in Copyright such as textbooks and reference materials, sound and video recording software and the internet.
THE WIPO PERFORMANCE AND PHONOGRAMS TREATY (WPPT)
WPPT and its sister treaty for authors WCT are focused on the digital environment. They clarify how the existing norms should be applied in the digital environment, and in particular to the internet.
In certain cases, they adapt the exiting norms to this new technology; and introduce some new norms where it was indispensable, in order to maintain an appropriate level of protection for copyright and related right in due harmony with the relevant public policy considerations.
The so-called digital agenda of the internet Treaties included the following main issues
(a) the application of the right of reproduction in the digital environment;
(b) the right or rights applicable for interactive transmissions;
(c) exceptions and limitations in the digital environment;
(d) the protection of technological measures; and
(e) the protection of rights management information.
Issues (a) and (b) have been settle through clarification of the existing international norms, and issue(c) through adaptation thereof to the requirement of the network environment; While, for the settlement of issues (d)and (e) certain indispensable new norms have been adopted.
The exclusive right of reproduction extends to any storage, including any temporary, transient one, since, under Article 7 of the WPPT, the right of reproduction “in any manner or form, it is understood that the storage of protected performance or phonogram in medium continues a reproduction within the meaning of these articles.
THE SPECTATOR - Saturday, February 24, 2007 Page: 16