Intellectual property rights key in management


As artists discuss copyright and related legislations



MASERU – The creative sector in Lesotho, consisting of literary and artistic works, is fragmented and could benefit from the collective management of its interests. This fragmentation makes it administratively challenging for rights users to identify and negotiate use and licensing agreements with the copyright owners, leaving many artistes convinced that collective rights management is one way in which this situation could be addressed. It is against this backdrop that the Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation Project in Africa (AfrIPI), the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), and the Lesotho Copyright Society of Authors and Artistes (LESCOSAA) hosted a workshop to support the strengthening of Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) in Maseru last week.

CMOs in the country are drawn from LESCOSAA, the Ministry of Law and Justice, as well as the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture. It is envisaged that these governmental bodies will gain insight into the best copyright enforcement practices of ARIPO and its member states. Furthermore, they will join forces to effectively implement their operations to benefit the creative sector and the country’s economic development. Speaking at the meeting, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture, Moliehi Moejane, said since the mandate on copyright and related rights was received in 2002, there has been significant uptake on collective management systems in ARIPO member states.

She said the number of CMOs has increased from 10 in nine member states to 27 across 17 ARIPO member states. “Collective management is the exercise of managing and licensing copyright and related rights by entities such as LESCOSAA in the interest of and on behalf of the owners of such rights. “CMOs unlock economic value and improve efficiency in two main ways. Firstly, they enable copyright owners to administer their rights and costs efficiently and effectively to obtain a fair return for their work.

“Secondly, they provide a service to rights users by facilitating ready access to, and licensing of, copyright works easily and cheaply,” she added. On that note, ARIPO reaffirms its commitment to continue providing the necessary support to existing CMOs as well as to facilitate establishment of CMOs in the remaining member states. The ARIPO representative, Amadu Bah, highlighted that the increase in the establishment of CMOs in ARIPO member states has assisted in the implementation of relevant copyright and related rights legislations in member states jurisdictions, including facilitating access to users by licensing rights for equitable remuneration.

For her part, AfrIPI representative Nancy Samuriwo said artistes, their communities and their governments stand to achieve significant economic benefits from the creative sector through well-managed CMOs. As a result, AfrIPI aims not just to see an increase in the number of these organisations, but also an improvement in the quality of their governance structures and the creation of systems for their long-term sustainability.

One of ARIPO’s objectives under the Lusaka Agreement (Article III) is to promote, among its members, the development of copyright and related rights and ensure that copyright and related rights contribute to the economic, social and cultural development of members and the region as a whole. AfrIPI is a Pan-African project that aims to support the European Union in creating, administering, utilising, protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights across Africa.

It follows international and European best practices and supports the African Continental Free Trade Area and the African Union’s Agenda 2063. The overall objective of the AfrIPI project is to facilitate intra-African trade and African and European investment.

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