Tanzania: MPs Commend New Copyright System

Members of Parliament have commended the newly ratified blank tape levy for creative arts saying it is very beneficial and timely.

The ratified blank tape levy which also involves creative arts is governed by the Tanzania Copyrights Society's (COSOTA) Intellectual Property Office.

To see it functions better in Tanzania, the Minister of Culture, Arts and Sports Mohamed Mchengerwa directed members of the parliament be given a seminar on how to handle it.

The seminar held in Dodoma on Tuesday was attended by members of the parliament engaged in community development and legal affairs who received in depth training on how to effectively implement the amendments carried out in in the Copyright Law.

Blank Media Levy or private copying levy is a government-mandated scheme in which a special tax or levy (additional to any general sales tax) is charged on purchases of recordable media.

Such taxes are in place in various countries and the income is typically allocated to the developers of "content"

During the seminar, the Deputy Permanent Secretary Saidi Yakub represented Minister Mchengerwa.

Speaking at the Seminar, Deputy Permanent Secretary said the Government has made the amendments to enable the works benefit the entire nation.

"Blank Tape levy involves devices that carry works of creative arts include smart phones, flash laptops and CDs whose uses have been seen to help increase income for artists who have a big number of users.

According to Yakub, a research carried out in some countries like South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, Morocco and Kenya found that new system has brought fortune the artists and their respective countries.

He added that the seminar has been given to the members of parliament due to the fact that they are representatives of the artists from their areas.

Presenting the Blank Tape levy, lawyers from the Intellectual Property Zephania Lyamuya and Doreen Sinare explained to the parliamentarians that the ratification of the amendments will help to manage the operation of companies and firms that collect and distribute royalties, maintain a register of creative works and fight against piracy.

Reacting, the MPs commended the seminar saying the newly introduced system provides an opportunity to promote and increase the income of artists.

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