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Create own ecosystem, artistes advised

Friday December 11 2020
cosota pic

Legal experts training creatives on copyright and trademark protection at Alliance Francaise in Dar es Salaam.

By Mpoki Thomson

Creatives in the arts and entertainment industry have been advised to converge and create an ecosystem that will safeguard their interests. This was said at a recent training titled ‘The Business of Music and its legal Aspects’ held at Alliance Francaise in Dar es Salaam organized by Shikana Law Group and Breakthrough Attorneys.

In attendance were artistes and stakeholders in the creative industry all keen on learning the legal aspects of their trade, stemming from the fact that creativity is an ongoing process in Tanzania.

Asha Mgembe, a partner at Breakthrough Attorneys kicked off the training by delving into the facets of Intellectual Property; Trademark and Copyright protection and how Tanzania’s legal system is framed around these legal interests.

Mgembe talked about how these legal interests, irrespective of the fact that they’ve existed for years, remain obscure to a certain section of the creatives in Tanzania’s entertainment industry.

Rapper Wakazi shared sentiments on how certain administrative bodies that govern copyrights in the country such as Copyrights Body of Tanzania (Cosota) are a hindrance to the interests of the artists due to the cumbersomeness that is involved in guarding the copyright interest of an artist.

For example, he stated that copyright is appreciated even without registration with Cosota, however, a person who registers with the copyrights body will be in a good position to be recognized as the owner of the work and entitled to numerous benefits that come along with the registration. This, he says, can be counterproductive due to the need of renewing registration with Cosota. “So if a person doesn’t renew their annual registration then Cosota will not come to their aid when need arises,” Wakazi says.

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He also added that the annual payment for work released is flawed because it is a sum for cumulative work instead of giving room for an artist to pay for recognition of sole projects.

Fareed Kubanda a.k.a. Fid Q present at the training, with a rejoinder said that artistes need to have leeway on how their creative works should be legally safeguarded.

Khalila Mbowe, a creative entrepreneur raised the need for artistes to form an ecosystem that would serve their interests when legal matters come into play. Her advice and call came when discussing the recent resurrection of the Hamis Mwinjuma (Mwana AF), Ambwene Yessayah (AY) vs MIC Tanzania case which saw the High Court side with MIC Tanzania and reversing an earlier judgement issued by the Ilala District Court which favoured Mwana FA and AY.

“Artistes need to know that with an ecosystem they will be better positioned to dictate the flow of their work an all aspects,” she said.

Kheri Mbiro, a Senior Partner at Breakthrough Attorneys expounded on the legal parameters in the copyrights and trademarks protection by urging artistes to work closely with legal experts in order to know where their legal rights begin and where they end. He stated that even though an artiste can be sued and eventually win a case, it is important for them to avoid being under such a legal predicament to begin with.

“There’s an awareness now within the entertainment and wider creative industry in Tanzania concerning legal requisites and interests. More law firms are delving into this unexplored legal market. It is important for artistes to know the importance of governing their creative works, that’s why we (Breakthrough Attorneys and Shikana Law Group) deemed it necessary to organize such training,” said Mbiro.

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