Workshop in Rwanda spotlights intellectual property to improve authors’ rights knowledge among creators

20180730 CISAC in FESPAD Workshop c Samuel Kamanzi
Ethiopia Delegation Head Wesenyeleh Mebreku Letargachew (not pictured), RSAU Chair Epa Binamungu, Senegal Minister of Culture Abdou Latif Coulibaly, Rwanda Minister of Trade & Industry Vincent Munyeshyaka, Republic Democratic of Congo Minister of Arts & Culture Astrid Madiya Ntumba, Burkina Faso Minister of Culture & Tourism Abdoul Karim Sango, African Union Commission Cultural Division Head Angela Martins, CISAC Regional Director Samuel Sangwa. 

CISAC’s Regional Director for Africa Samuel Sangwa was invited to speak to creators, Ministers, public and private stakeholders on July 30th during the Pan-African Dance Festival (FESPAD) in Rwanda. The workshop was organised by the Minister of Sports & Culture along with the Rwanda Development Board and Ministry of Trade & Industry as partners.

The goal was to increase awareness about authors’ rights and intellectual property as well as its importance for cultural and creative industries in Rwanda and Africa. The conference was opened by Minister of Sport & Culture Uwacu Julienne. It drew Ministers and guests from Burkina Faso, Senegal, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo Brazzaville and Ethiopia.

Key barriers in Rwanda and Africa include a reluctance by broadcasters in paying royalties as well as a lack of knowledge of intellectual property, copyright and law. The lack of knowledge has been a particular barrier for CISAC member society RSAU in convincing users. Artists in the country are also unaware of their rights and the law. To combat this, CISAC Regional Director Samuel Sanga detailed authors’ rights, collective management and CISAC’s development support activities in Africa at the workshop.

Building on collections in Africa figures and analysis, the Regional Director pinpointed hinderances to growth in Africa. This included underscoring the lack of conducive legislative and institutional frameworks to realise the potential of schemes such as private copying, broadcaster resistance to complying with paying royalties, the limited negotiating capability of CMOs and digital licensing of DSPs. With Ministers present, Samuel Sangwa called upon governments to support their respective CMOs and creators to contribute to socioeconomic developmentin Africa.

With creators present, RSAU detailed its operations and daily work. In addition, RSAU CEO Nadine Bwiza indicated that while the society was initially been focused on the musical repertoire, it will expand into other repertoires next year. It also emphasised that government support is needed to implement law and judiciary procedures against those who infringe on copyright law.

Elsewhere in Africa, a lack of knowledge about copyright continues to be a concern. Senegal Minister of Culture Abdu Latif Coulibaly and Burkina Faso Minister of Culture & Tourism Abdoul Karim Sango both drew attention to this concern. The African Union has stepped up efforts to improve this, having organised last March a meeting on copyright and intellectual property rights.

Echoing the need for continued authors’ rights improvements in Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo Minister of Culture Astride Madiya Tumba stated: “In Democratic Republic of Congo, our artists are living in a miserable life notwithstanding their works are out and used across the country and abroad. Rights of authors must be respected like other obligations.”