By Bekai Njie
Tourism and Culture Minister Hamat Bah Wednesday signed a Copyright Regulation Act and equally inaugurated the Advisory Technical Committee for the National Troupe at the Atlantic Hotel in Banjul.
The signing came under the cooperation of National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC).
Hamat Bah said that the act places the administration of copyright in NCAC and goes further to mandate the setting up of two outfits for the implementation of an effective copyright regime.
“First is the copyright office or bureau under the NCAC charged specifically with the registration of works, sensitisation of rights holders and users, and enforcement of compliance with the law, especially against piracy and the misuse of protected works,” he stated.
The minister of Tourism and Culture further noted that The Gambia needs a National Troupe that can represent the country at international cultural gatherings and to take pride of place when we have visiting dignitaries.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Cordu Jabang-Senghore, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Culture said that the Copyright Act seeks to encourage and reward creativity; designed to balance the economic and moral rights of creators, authors and investors with the interest of society in using and enjoying their creative expressions.
Mrs. Senghore added that the advisory committee on the anticipated Gambia National Troupe brings together Gambian veterans in the field of Arts and Culture who are well placed to utilize their knowledge and skills to help them give birth to a National Ensemble that reflects the ideals and values of the New Gambia.
Also speaking at the opening ceremony, director general of NCAC, said he has never seen a Gambian who has become rich from proceeds generated from practicing or supporting the arts.
“We are all aware of the importance of the arts especially for our national identity and the enjoyment that is so vital to human happiness as well as how the world would have been without the arts in all its forms,” he argued.
He recalled that there exists only two National Troupes since independence, adding that the first survived for about a decade after 1975 when it was formed while the last one came into being with the coming of the AFPRC around 1994/5.
The reasons for the short life of their defunct National Troupes according to the DG, is the subject of finance and sustainability.
He added that this reason is the challenge that the advisory committee is tasked with resolving and advising government on it.
The DG further stated that the signing of the Copyright Regulations is a milestone in institutionalising a copyright regime, adding that it does not mean that collection and distribution of royalties will start immediately.
“There are many other things that need to be put in place before the beginning and the signing has to be followed up with negotiations with users of copyright material to come to agreeable tariffs,” he said.