Partnering to Grow Capacity of African CMOs

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From 8-10 November, CISAC, ARIPO and NORCODE partnered to provide digital licensing and documentation training in Harare, Zimbabwe for music repertoire collective management organisations in ARIPO member states.  This training session brought together 22 participants representing 15 African societies.

The workshop objectives included to facilitate mass consumption of copyright content and consumer access to content in a new media and online environment as well as developing industry-specific licensing schemes for new media and online exploitation and documentation. This has become necessary given the global growth of online platforms in the exploitation of musical and other copyright works along with the need to ensure creators continue to benefit from their works.

ARIPO Director of Intellectual Property Christopher Kiige gave the opening address highlighting that “We cannot fail to notice the ubiquitous online environment that has enveloped us. Not even Africa is spared from the online activity that has become a global phenomenon. Of note is the fact that copyright industries are some of the major drivers of activity on online trading platforms and these new markets present a huge potential towards increasing earnings for our economies and creators”.

Online licensing particularities and challenges were presented by TONO Director of Online Media, Broadcast & International Licensing Inger Elise Mey. CISAC was represented by Director of Business Standards & Rules Sylvain Piat, who presented on the challenges of documentation and distribution in the context of online processing. Sylvain Piat also gave an introduction to CISAC’s Binding Resolutions and Best Practices, which structure the high business and technical standards that apply to CISAC members. Presentations by professionals focused on the online music market, new markets for reproduction rights, sync rights as well as music users, broadcast, cable transmission and satellite uplink on new media platforms. Attendees also learned more about legal aspects of international representation of repertoire and collective management. A presentation by South Africa’s CAPASSO provided an exemplary case study on effective licensing and management that can be used by African CMOs.  Other case studies based on African and international examples were also used to throughout the sessions as practical tools highlighting challenges, opportunities and realities of digital licensing and documentation.   

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The highly interactive meeting enabled sharing knowledge between industry professionals. Each CMO was able to make a presentation on challenges that they currently face in rights management in the online environment. Key outcomes included: challenges in ownership of works, identification of works, lack of cooperation from users and lack of monitoring systems, among others. In response, and giving advice to the CMOs as an external consultant, Robert Hooijer with the support of the other experts made a passionate call for CMOs to make improved efforts towards increasing operational efficiency. He further stated that this was the goal of workshops and that partners assist CMOs to make steps towards improving how they serve their rights-holders.

Another outcome was a call for increased collaboration between CMOs to enable sharing key lessons and information to improve operations in digital licensing and documentation. Committees were set up to spearhead collaboration efforts and will collaborate closely with CISAC, ARIPO and NORCODE. Participants and experts were optimistic that these efforts will bear fruit. There was a call for continued trainings and workshops for capacity building of CMOs. The resource experts included Maureen Fondo, PRISK Information Technology Officer Samuel Momanyi, CAPASSO Business Affairs Manager Wiseman Ngubo, TONO Director of Online Media, Broadcast & International Licensing Inger Elise Mey, NORCODE Managing Director Inger Dirdal, CISAC Director of Business Standards & Rules Sylvain Piat, and external consultant Rob Hooijer.

By Lawrence Hoba: ARIPO