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Assist African Musicians to overcome modern challenges - Buari 2/21/2007
Accra, Feb 20, GNA - The President of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), Alhaji Sidiku Buari, has called on the international community to assist African Musicians to overcome the challenges of the modern era.

Alhaji Sidiku Buari made the call at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)-Asia Pacific Regional Symposium on Performers Rights in the Digital Network in China, when he presented a paper on the topic "Between Art and Profession: Performers View". He said the time had come for the international community to help in the promotion of African music to bring it to an appreciable level. The MUSIGA President identified piracy as a long time problem for African Musicians, which had been compounded by technological advancement that enabled people to download music on the INTERNET depriving the Musicians of the fruits of their labour.

Alhaji Sidiku Buari, who is also the Vice President of the International Federation of Musicians, noted that Musicians in general and particularly in Africa could be assisted if measures were put in place to eliminate the problem of down loading from the INTERNET.

He said Africa had the potential to contribute effectively to the promotion of global music if the necessary assistance was given and urged African Musicians to forge ahead in unity to end the activities of pirates who took advantage of them The Vice President of the International Federation of Musicians noted that entertainment music was one of the biggest industries in the world and said until recently music was a potential industry with bright prospects but lack of appropriate cultural development strategies and funding had undermined human and institutional capacities to exploit the cultural potentials in Africa to the maximum

"For a long time, musicians and artistes in Africa has not been regarded as serious entrepreneurs whose industry needed the kind of incentives accorded other professionals," Alhaji Sidiku Buari stated and said "Through common practice African musicians are expected to entertain for free and at times depend wholly on the generosity of the audience".

Musicians are not accorded professional status since they lack a strong and effective body to lobby for them and champion their cause. Even those whose main occupation is music are in the informal sector, which is largely unregulated and do not enjoy social security benefits, have no pension scheme, no protection of their intellectual property rights or insurance and their works are constantly pirated, Alhaji Sidiku Buari stated.

He noted that musicians and other related artistes were therefore forced to do other jobs to supplement their incomes thus giving divided attention to their profession.

They also did not have rights and privileges that they should naturally have.

Alhaji Sidiku Buari said it was regrettable that many of Africa''s budding musicians had perfected the art of copying and had become "copycats". "They expend all their energies trying to sound like Michael Jackson''s, 50 Cents, Jay, Z, Beyonce, P. Diddy etc," he said because the youth who were the largest consumers of music did not sufficiently appreciate local music thereby compelling the artiste to imitate Western style to ensure their survival.

Yet Africa had excellent melodies and beats, which were appealing and thrilling to music lovers even those in the developed world, Alhaji Sidiku Buari said.

The Vice Minister for National Copyright Administration of the Republic China (NCAC), Mr Yan Xiaohong, said China had established a legal framework that protected copyright.

He said the People''s Court at various levels in China were responsible for the hearing of copyright infringement cases. The Chinese Minister said the Chinese Copyright Administration had organised special campaigns nationwide to educate the people in key areas of Copyright such as textbooks and reference materials, sound and video recording software and the INTERNET. 20 Feb 07


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