THE Lesotho Copyright Society of Authors and Artistes (LESCOSAA) board was recently inaugurated at Makoanyane Square, in Maseru.
The board comprises of nine representatives, seven of whom are from various local arts associations. Among them is Sechaba Moqoko (chairperson), Limpho Mokhochane, Thakane Letsie, Teboho Khalieli, Shoepane Sehashe, Khotso Thahane and Litšepiso Matsosa.
Additionally, the board also has members from the co-administering ministries namely: Thabo Lehanya from the Ministry Tourism, Environment and Culture and 'Mampoi Taoana from the Ministry of Law and Constitutional Affairs.
LESCOSAA was established as a royalty collector and distributor in line with the Copyright Order 1989 which, in part reads: "make provision for copyright of literary, artistic and scientific works, to safeguard expressions of traditional and cultural productions and for connected purposes".
In his speech, Moqoko said artistes' rights while they must also be provided with adequate knowledge on how royalties essentially work.
"We must protect the rights of all stakeholder," Moqoko said.
"We are going to protect their rights by giving them the knowledge that will allow them to understand how and where their works are registered, what royalties mean and how they work."
Moqoko told the Weekender that he was proud that the LESCOSAA board comprised of artistes who understand the obtaining situation on the ground.
He said since they are still in their infancy stage, they would first focus on performance and broadcast royalties.
"We will primarily focus on performance and broadcast. Later on, we will move on to others like needle time and mechanical rights as the society finds its feet since the processes are complex," he said.
Moqoko said they would soon hold conferences to inform artistes and authors about the registration process and related matters. LESCOSAA hopes to partner the Department of Culture to host community outreach programmes across the country's 10 districts.
LESCOSAA also intends to appoint a secretariat which will include a chief executive office and its team by the end of February while talks with relevant stakeholders will commence in March 2020.
The is targeting to dispense its first royalty pay outs in July 2021.
Tourism, Environment and Culture minister, Joang Molapo, who also attended the ceremony however, said it could be feasible to pay the first batch of royalties by the end of the next financial year which starts on 1 April 2020.
Mr Molapo said Basotho were talented and it was the government's responsibility to translate that talent into financial rewards.
"We want every gifted Mosotho to survive on their talent instead of setting it aside to focus on other things. The government must support and make this process possible," Molapo said.
He said he hopes that by next year, at least M3 million would be raised for local artistes.