MOVE of transfer Copyright Society of Tanzania (COSOTA), to the Ministry of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports from the Ministry of Industry and Trade is progressing well, it was announced on Tuesday.
Minister for Information, Arts, Sports and Culture, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe has directed the Permanent Secretary in his ministry, Dr Hassan Abbasi, to immediately meet the latter’s counterpart in the ministry of Trade and Industry to exchange documents regarding the COSOTA.
The minister’s development follows President John Magufuli’s directive he issued last Sunday that COSOTA be shifted from the ministry of Trade and Industry to Dr Mwakyembe’s docket.
Magufuli made the directive over the weekend at the state house in Chamwino, Dodoma when addressing government leaders, artistes and the delegates of CCM Congress. He said by Sunday this week, all the procedures required to transfer COSOTA to the mentioned ministry should be completed.
“I know that I have big debts to pay to the artistes in the country and one of them is to transfer COSOTA responsibilities from the Ministry of Industry and Trade where it has been ineffective for a long time.
“I have already signed some documents presented to me by the Prime Minister to facilitate the transferring processes,” said Magufuli.
Before the president’s directive, COSOTA was as per the law, a statutory body set up by the government under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, under Section 46 of the law and procedure governing registration of copyright in Tanzania.
Therefore, COSOTA is vested with power to administer the legislation. It has major duties to ensure that all artistic works in the country are based on the profession.
Section 4 of the law defines copyright as the sole legal right to print, publish, perform film or record a literary, artistic or musical work.
This legal right is given to the author/originator or assignee of the work. Any publication, print or performance of the work without authorisation of the author or assignee amounts to breach which is usually referred to as piracy.
President Magufuli said that he was moving COSOTA to the ministry of Information, Arts, Sports and Culture to remove unnecessary bureaucracies, asking Dr Mwakyembe to ensure that all issues were sorted within a short period before the election campaigns.
At a news conference on Tuesday, Dr Mwakyembe directed the two Permanent Secretaries to visit COSOTA’s main offices in Dar es Salaam and see how legal issues can be sorted out, as well as ensuring that all innovative and artistic works were not denying the rights of owners.
In 2016, Dr Magufuli met several artists at State House in Dar es Salaam, who expressed the various challenges facing them.
At that time, back then, the Head of State said that there was a need to have COSOTA in the ministry responsible for arts in a bid to increase efficiency.
Dr Mwakyembe said on Tuesday that as per the registration records of 2019/20, about 86per cent of stakeholders in COSOTA were the country’s artists.