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The Copyright Act and music producers

Aug 17, 2012, 1:47 PM

National Centre for Arts and Culture music producers and promoters recently gathered at the Alliance Franco-Gambienne to discuss issues concerning the Gambia Copyright Act as well as the promotion of Gambian music.

In delivering his speech at the forum, Tijan Camara, chairman of the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC), thanked those who attended the forum.

He said the forum was an offshoot of the consultative forums of the NCAC’s new management, which has been encouraging artistic groups with a view to creating understanding on how best they could work together for their mutual interest so that their concerns could be addressed collectively.

The NCAC chairman told the gathering that the forum serves as a prelude to the establishment of a national copyright collecting society, which is long overdue.

“As you know, according to the Copyright Act of The Gambia, it is the professional artistic associations of which you are not an exception that should come together to constitute the collective society,” he said.

“On this occasion, therefore, it is hoped would accord you the opportunity to select board of directors.

“Furthermore, coming together as an association, I mean an active and vibrant one for that matter would no doubt help in safeguarding your collective interest, lobbying and applying for grants for implementation of programmes and activities.”

According to Tijan Camara, the NCAC is the agency charged with the preservation, promotion and development of arts and culture in The Gambia.

“This is a very broad mandate and there is no doubt the resources at our disposal are far from adequate to meet all the expectations of our mandate,” he said.

“Due to the limitation of resources, human, material and financial, we cannot afford to be dealing with issues piecemeal or on individual basis; hence the need to encourage you to come together so that your concerns can be collectively addressed.”

He continued: “We consider your coming together very timely and important because inter-alia our mandate includes the administration of copyright, which should be very important to you because an effective copyright regime stands to protect your interest, especially intellectual property or creations as either artistic or executive producers of music.

“We have observed the enthusiasm that has been generated in the music so-called industry and the increasing importance that The Gambia is gaining as a location for promotion, especially to our neighbours in the sub region. The question is, for how long is this trend going to continue at the detriment of our Gambian artists who often cry foul for being forgotten or used as excess baggage, so to speak, when it comes to engaging”

Hassoum Ceesay, director of Copyright at the NCAC, said the act specifically protects music under the name of sound recordings and musical works.

Mr Ceesay said musical work is similar in many respects irrespective of its quality and words composed for musical accompaniment and sound recording.

It is defined as a work that results from the fixation of a series of musical, spoken or other sound, but does not include sounds accompanying a motion picture.

According to the NCAC Copyright director, section 49 1 of the Act, a producer of music in The Gambia, shall submit it for registration by the NCAC not later than one month before its publication and two copies of the best edition deposited with the registration form.

Failure to register is an offence liable to D100,000 fine.

According to section 60 1 the Act states that no person shall act as producer of music, publisher or distributor unless he or she holds a licence from the NCAC.