Oct 14, 2009, 6:59 AM
A week-long training workshop for Gambia copyright stakeholders started on Monday at the Gambia Hotel School in Kanifing.
The training, organised by the National Centre for Art and Culture (NCAC) and funded by ECOWAS, is aimed at bringing a responsive copyright system in the country.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie, Minister of Tourism and Culture, registered her profound gratitude to ECOWAS for its support to The Gambia’s efforts at ensuring a robust and responsive copyright system in the country.
She said that in 2004, her ministry managed to have a new copyright law for The Gambia to replace the colonial law of 1913, which was “grossly inadequate”.
“This was followed by a series of capacity building and copyright sensitization programmes through seminars, meetings and workshops targeting all the stakeholders in the copyright sector,’’ she said, adding that a copyright office was also established under the NCAC, which is mandated to administer copyright in The Gambia.
This office, according to the Tourism Minister, has since started registration of works and has also facilitated the formation of artists associations which composed of the Collecting Society Board.
She recalled that last May, another milestone was reached when the Congress of Artists Associations elected the Board of the society and its officials who are now tasked by the Copyright Act to collect royalties for its members.
Tourism Minister Jobe-Njie expressed optimism that the collection of royalties will soon start, and The Gambia will join the list of ECOWAS countries with copyright collecting mechanism to strengthen the status of the country’s creative communities.
“In these efforts, we have benefited from the advice and encouragement of ECOWAS who sent a fact-finding mission in 2012. At that time, we promised them that things cannot be the same after their visit, and I hope we have been proven right,’’ she stated.
Professor Abdoulaye Maga, director of Culture, Education, Science and Technology of ECOWAS, said the training was informed by the rapid progress made by The Gambia after the assessment of copyright carried out in The Gambia by ECOWAS Commission in collaboration with members of the Observatory in March 2012.
During this period, Professor Maga said, the Gambian Copyright Office heartily welcomed the assessment team and was very receptive of new ideas.
It was in this regard, he noted, that an assessment was carried out on the state of Copyright in The Gambia and a work programme to set up the Gambian Collecting Management Society was drawn up by the team in collaboration with the Gambian Copyright Office.
He explained further that the success of the ECOWAS Observatory research was relayed to the 3rd meeting of the ECOWAS Regional Copyright Observatory (RCO) which was held in May 2012 in Accra, Ghana.
“Thereafter, the Observatory chose The Gambia to host its 4th meeting in order to further determine the progress made by the Gambian Copyright Office in setting up the Gambian Collecting Management Society,” he added.