Artistes empowered on property protection

Held last Wednesday, at Theatre in the Park, the workshop addressed the crucial issue of protecting creative works in a changing landscape.

The Zimbabwe Theatre Association (Zita), in collaboration with Dendera Arts Trust and Culture Warriors Edutainment Trust, empowered artists with a one-day workshop on intellectual property (IP) rights in the arts and cultural sector, with a specific focus on theatre.

Held last Wednesday, at Theatre in the Park, the workshop addressed the crucial issue of protecting creative works in a changing landscape.

National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) assistant director, arts promotions Barbra Gotore, acknowledged the decline of record companies and distribution networks, placing the onus of IP protection squarely on individual artistes.

Recognising the vulnerability of all artists to infringement, regardless of their stature, Gotore emphasised the workshop's significance in equipping creators with the knowledge to safeguard their work.

Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture ministry along with the NACZ expressed full support for initiatives that enhance artists' understanding of IP rights.

The workshop served as a vital step towards empowering the creative community and fostering a thriving cultural sector in Zimbabwe.

 “The protection of intellectual property for example, patents gives inventors exclusive rights to their inventions, allowing them to monetise their ideas and drive further progress,” Gotore.

“This is key for enabling the cultural and creative sector  to contribute meaningfully to the national economy and the attainment of the government developmental goals.

“Intellectual property plays a vital role in preserving creativity in the digital age.

“It enables theatre practitioners, authors, musicians and content creators to control the reproduction, distribution and public performance of their works.

“By protecting their rights, copyright protection allows artists to receive a fair return on their investment and encourages the continued production of high quality creative content.”

Zita chairperson Getrude Vimbai Munhamo-Pfumayaramba said lack of awareness and understanding about intellectual property has led to numerous cases of infringement and unfair practices.

“According to recent reports Zimbabwe has witnessed a significant rise in intellectual property violations with a staggering increase of 30% in the past year alone this not only affects the livelihoods of our artiste. but also stifles the potential for economic growth in the creative sector,” she said.

Legal practitioner Nyasha Chiota said IP was an intangible asset that can be commercially sold and monetised.

It is protected by the Constitution, specifically in Section 71, which grants artistes the right to express and communicate their ideas (Section 61).

Chiota further explained on the issue of trademarks,  for example a logo title, statement, symbol or colour as something that legally differentiates a product or service from all others .

“If you want prove that you have ownership to your artistic work you do voluntary registration for you to be registered to Zipo, Aripo or WPO and they give you a certificate that claims that you are the owner of the song registration fee is $50 000 anyone who comes after that they do not have a right to the work,” she said.

“If  you are not registered other people are going to take your song and go with it to ZIPO and register it and it will be theirs and anytime you perform you pay them that's what the law says unless you can prove because they are now rights attached to the performer and the one who registered.”

Chiota said it was important that before someone takes a video they should have consent from the performer before posting it.

“If you see your video online on blogs and tabloid  you are allowed to sue them or for them to take it down you should also read policies written on social media apps as an artiste on what it says about intellectual property YouTube or Facebook what the terms, policies and conditions because they guide you,” she Ishan on   “Lola” and “put it on God” she featured with limoblaze .

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