12 July 2017

Cameroon: Clean-Up Measures Ongoing

Government and artists have understood the need to put order in author's right distribution

For some time now, radio and TV news as well as print media reports have carried numerous headlines about the problems rocking author's right in the country. If it is not a problem surrounding the distribution of author's right, it is a problem amongst members in the different guilds. But with the constant intervention of the government and the artists themselves, these struggles seem to dwindle into oblivion with time. Up-coming elections of the managing committees in the five author's right guilds is hoped to definitely bring an end to the in-house author's right tussle. In 2015, the Prime Minister, Head of Government, Philemon Yang began by setting up a committee to diagnose the problems facing the management of author's rights in Cameroon. To this effect, the Head of Government later signed two decisions modifying decree no 2001/956/PM that governs the management of authors' rights in Cameroon. The decision nullified a communiqué issued by the then Minister of Arts and Culture granting operating license to a newly-created musical art corporation, SOCACIM. SOCACIM was created on 28th April 2015 in Mbengwi in the North West Region from the ashes of SOCAM and Cameroon Music Corporation by a fraction of Cameroonian musicians. According to the new dispensation, the Minister of Arts and Culture issues licenses to Musical Corporation only after a visa by the Prime Minister. Thereafter, several consultative meetings on author's rights have taken place between the Minister of Arts and Culture, Professor Narcisse Mouelle Kombi and the different guilds of arts in Cameroon. During one of such meetings on April 6, 2017, the Minister of Arts and Culture (MINAC) invited the actors, who are the principal beneficiaries of copyright and related rights to examine the establishment of collective management bodies in accordance with the renewed legal and institutional framework. Artists themselves have fully understood what their rights are and responsibilities as well. Clearly, they have reorganised themselves into five guilds which is a good way to get things done correctly. There is the musical artists' guild, the literature/writers guild, audiovisual and photographer's artists' guilds, graphic, plastic and painters' artists' guilds and association related to neighbouring rights. A national file of holders of copyright and neighbouring rights has already been published on the basis of these five groupings. This is a significant step forward, as the artists intend to go along with the Head of State's high-level directives on the reorganisation of copyright and related rights, formalized by the Prime Minister and executed by Arts and Culture Minister.

La parole aux acteurs

Sam Mbendé: « Il vaut mieux choisir l'unité »

Musicien

« Dans tous les pays il n y a pas de règle absolue en matière de gestion collective. Il y a toujours des récriminations qui trouvent des comptes, si elles sont justifiées et avérées. Mais l'essentiel est qu'il y ait parmi les artistes quelqu'un qui incarne l'unité. Nous devons alors choisir un chemin simple au lieu de nous compliquer la vie. Il vaut mieux choisir l'unité, l'apaisement, la paix, la tolérance. Maintenant, il faut encourager les profils des candidats qui vont dans ce sens. Je ne serai plus candidat à ma propre succession. Mais nous voulons une équipe d'apaisement qui va tenir compte de tout le monde, qui va implanter le redressement ».

Théodore Ondigui Onana: « Notre assemblée se prépare avec grand intérêt »

Artiste plasticien

« Notre assemblée générale a été renvoyée à plusieurs reprises à cause des moyens. Mais depuis près de huit mois, c'est avec un grand intérêt que nous nous préparons. Déjà nous avons saisi l'autorité pour avoir autorisation de manifestation en toute quiétude. En ce moment, nous travaillons avec la commission de contrôle des organismes de gestion collective du ministère des Arts et de la Culture, qui forme dans le cadre juridique. Le comité électoral se réunit également constamment pour organiser certaines procédures. Nous avons aussi fait appel à un notaire et à un huissier pour la régularisation des élections. Tout ceci réuni, nous allons effectivement procéder à notre assemblée le 22 juillet prochain ».

Francis Ateh Bazor: « It Is a Positive Initiative »

Musician

« The government has really done a great job, by putting in place legal apparatus necessary for a more effective management of author's rights. Secondly, they proposed the mergence of CMC and SOCAM, which was the decision, arrived at in the final report, insisting that the only way forward is for this measure to take place. On May 24, the Prime Minister wrote a letter, reminding the Arts and Culture Minister of this proposal. This makes us comply with Article 75 of the 2000 laws which stipulates that, only one company can operate in each sector. This, I think, is a very positive measure, which if respected, will help restore author's rights. And more so, because, the Musicians found in SOCAM are the same in CMC. »

Daniel Ndo: « Nous mettons nos textes en place »

Humoriste et comédien

« La Sociladra tiendra son assemblée élective le 22 juillet prochain à 9h à la CNPS à Yaoundé. Pour la préparer, le conseil d'administration sortant qui a été chargé par la plateforme du ministère des Arts et de la Culture d'organiser la commission de contrôle veille à ce que tout soit prêt. Actuellement, nous nous concentrons sur tous les textes notamment les statuts et les codes afin qu'ils soient à jour. La commission de contrôle des organismes de gestion collective veille à ce que la liste des candidats au conseil d'administration soit prête et leurs dossiers également ».

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