Dakar Meeting Establishes Framework For The West African Music Network
West African Network (WAN), a common regional database of musical works and audiovisual works to which the different national databases will be connected
COSON Chairman, chief Tony Okoroji and WIPO Assistant Director General, Mr. Trevor Clark in Dakar
Chief Tony Okoroji, Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), the nation's sole government approved copyright collective management organization for musical works and sound recordings, returned to the country on Sunday, February 20, after a four day visit to Dakar. Chief Okoroji was in Dakar to represent Nigeria at the consultative meeting on the Development Agenda Project for Enhancing and Networking of Collective Management Organizations in West Africa which held on February 17th and 18th. at the Senegalese capital. The meeting was organized under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the United Nation's specialized agency for intellectual property matters and the Government of the Republic of Senegal. Participants included the Chief Executive Officers and key leaders of Copyright Offices and Organizations from Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo.
The strong team to the meeting from the World Intellectual Property Organization was led by Assistant Director-General, Trevor Clarke and included Simon Ouedraogo, Senior Adviser (WIPOCOS Project) and Andrew TU, Chief Advisor on information technology. The Government of Senegal was represented by Moussa KA, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture and Leisure.
The meeting agreed on the framework for the setting up of the West African Network (WAN), a common regional database of musical works and audiovisual works to which the different national databases will be connected with agreed information seamlessly uploaded. The objective is to provide worldwide access to musical works in the region so that they are better exploited in a way that owners of the works recieve appropriate payments for such exploitation. Ultimately, WAN aims at the inter-connection of national, regional and international database networks that have the same goals. Also discussed at the Dakar meeting were issues relating to the licensing of musical works and the registration of authors, performing artists, publishers and producers within the region.
Speaking during the recent visit to COSON of the new Director-General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, Afam Ezekude, Chief Okoroji said, "The Dakar meeting was a watershed event. The birth of WAN creates tremendous opportunity for each of our artistes to have his or her work available on an international shop window so that the work can be used anywhere in the world with royalties paid to the artiste whenever the work is used and wherever the artiste may be. The challenge for us as a nation is to have a database that properly captures the millions of information necessary for Nigeria to play a key role in this emerging platform. Other nations in the region started working on their databases long before us. It was only last year, with the government approval of COSON, that we began the building of a national database of musical works with WIPO assistance. The task is huge considering the size of the repertoire in Nigeria. At COSON, we are mobilizing every resource we can because this is a task that we must accomplish for the future of Nigerian music. It is important to inform every artiste in Nigeria that they need to do whatever is necessary to ensure that their works are captured in the COSON database or they may find themselves locked out from the important income stream that collective management will represent as the world becomes increasingly digital. It is that serious."
It will be recalled that the World Intellectual Property Organization sent a technical team to COSON in July 2010 which spent a week at COSON installing the important WIPOCOS software for the database of musical works and distribution of royalties. The WIPO mission also conducted training for COSON personell some of who have had to travel outside the country since to receive additional technical training.
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