By Kumba Leigh
Hassoum Ceesay Acting Director National Centre for Arts and Culture said the copyright law is very significant as it is established to protect and ensure royalties are paid to people’s products with no plagiarism.
He disclosed this in an interviewed with this reporter at his office in Banjul.
He dilated that the artistes, dancers, journalists, writers, musicians, actors and actresses’ works are protected from theft and make sure their work is paid for. Ceesay said radio stations should pay royalties to musicians, to film makers, schools, universities and colleges. A writer himself Ceesay said those who photocopy books of authors should also paid royalties. He said registration is also very necessary as it is part of the copyright law 2004; that any art product produce either it is a film, a book written and other materials should be considered adding both the copyright Act and regulations protect artistes.
‘’People should come to NCAC to register their work of arts as it will be guarantee and is one of the legal approach to claim for ownership of work in case it is plagiarized or theft or even use in entertainment without payment. Such registration shall a prove that the work is theirs he said, adding that they recently have new staff to ensure the active functioning of the process.
However the section is divided into segments in which there will a board responsible for loyalties, copyright inspections in the fight against infringement, and help end piracy.’’
He said: people should seek for permissions before they use other peoples’ work, saying it should be authorized and should also be compensated financially, stating that the copyright Act and regulation has clearly stated the protection of authors of their works and they are now waiting on the full implementations.
Hassoum Ceesay told this reporter that they have Quality Society of The Gambia (QSTG), a body set up as a legal entity that they are working with particularly on the issue of royalties and police on the issues of infringement; noting that there were several attempts in which some people were pirating Jaliba Kujateh’s cassettes but due to the help of the police, it has been regulated.
He noted that the law enacted before 2004 was small in scope, saying the copyright law in placed at the time was not very good because it only protect books. He said since 1914 it is 63 years old, that the government at that time do not take it as a concern but from 2004 upward it is a different case.
Ceesay dilated that with the newly enacted law, it will not only be limited to books but includes cassette, films, dance, architects, find arts, illustrators, and craft arts, are all protected.
He referenced that the law before 2004 has no royalties and government at the time have not prioritise culture, saying copyright is the backbone of culture because when it is in placed however, artistes earn money and their creation are protected. He said there is need to handle it vehemently and carefully because culture is part of development.
He went on to say that artistes in those days were not protected due to the bad copyright law adding that their works are being use out of no pay, some were exploited and that has a very negative effect on the lives of artistes. He said after the emergence of the newly copyright law, the arts and culture has increased rapidly with which many of the youth taking part in the music industry. He added that there was little films unit under the information ministry at the time but now it has upgraded and many of the individual Gambians are producing their own films and winning prices abroad.
‘’We need support from government in order to ensure the Collection Society of The Gambia (CSG) participate in the collection of artistes loyalties, noting that since 1962 Gambia have a radio and play music free of charge giving that people listen to radios, read newspapers with content, therefore they should pay he said; adding there will be many regulations and the copyright laws states that 75% music play on radios should be Gambian music.’’
He went on: there is a direct link between quality music participation and the level of exposure saying if most of the radios should play Gambian music and loyalties implemented, the economy of the country will increase simply because almost all the royalties that will be paid, will stay in the country. He stated that 80% of the loyalties collected is taken to Senegal and other international countries and that, is not good for the country’s economy.
He further stated that NCAC in collaboration with the ministry of justice recently have drafted a copyright policy and the government has made it a priority to ensure it is materialize.
He assured that artistes work will now be protected at all cost saying implementation has always been a slow move because copyright is very delicate and there is need to make all necessary logistics in place but notwithstanding there are partners who are also ready to intervene to ensure is a success.
By Kumba Leigh