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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Creatives lack intellectual property rights knowledge

Story by Patience Nyagato, Arts Reporter

Lack of information on issues about intellectual property rights has been identified as one of the key factors hindering artists from reaping the full benefits of their sweat.

This came out at the Cultural and Creative Industry Intellectual Property Rights Workshop held in Harare this Wednesday.

Information gaps on intellectual property rights have been identified among local artists, amid revelations that when entering copyright license agreements, most artists only consider initial royalties and incentives, while oblivious to the long-term benefits of their copyrights.

This has seen some unintentionally selling rights to their works.

“Usually when we are booked, we only ask how much we get. Sometimes we see our works on other platforms without getting any cent from it. So, because we don’t know where to start, it has been happening for years. I have seen most of my dance videos online but I don’t get anything from it.

“The person only paid for us to perform at a function. They did not mention that they were going to use it anywhere. Sometimes we know some rights, but when I am really down, I don’t even think twice, I just sign the contract,” said a dancer, Juliana Kadambe.

At a time artists continue to enter into unfavourable agreements due to lack of information, a legal expert unpacks the importance of copyright and how it can help artists protect their works.

A legal expert, Nyasha Chihota said, “Mainly for artists we have copyrights which naturally accrue when you create something. The fact that you are the artist who created the artwork the copyrights automatically accrue.

“One can commercialise their artwork by licensing, franchising or selling their product. Instead of one seeding their rights they can sell a license. The moment you give or sell the right you won’t have control over it. Artists have the economic right to monetise or reproduce your act and there are moral rights.”

As part of efforts to grow the creative sector in Zimbabwe, the government through the National Arts Council has put in place systems to educate artists on the current global creative sector developments.

“Critically, what NAC has identified is the issue of education and capacity building. This has become a key pillar in all our strategies. Many of our artists have no idea of what intellectual property is. They push talent and creativity they will only demand pay without understanding that beyond just the primary consumption of one stream, there are many streams they can get paid. So that’s why we have invested in education,” said National Arts Council of Zimbabwe director, Mr Nicholas Moyo.

Weeks ago, Zimdancehall crooner, Enzo Ishall made headlines after taking to his social media page his disappointment after a friend leaked lyrics of his unfinished song and turned them into a meme.

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