UN to help West African musicians get paid for their creativity


The United Nations intellectual property agency today announced a project to help musical artists in 11 West African countries to get paid for their work through a single, standardized registration system.

Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), said in a press statement released in Brussels, that the new system, to be developed in cooperation with Google, will mean that “that a right holder will only have to register a work once to have the information stored across the 11 countries.”

Mr. Gurry announced the project during a keynote presentation at the third World Copyright Summit, organized by the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) in Brussels.

The 11 countries involved in the current phase of the project are Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo.

Rights holders in the 11 countries currently have to register their rights in each of the countries, meaning greater administrative costs and a difficult search for a radio producer or film director who wants to license a piece of African music, WIPO said.

The new system “will make it simpler to license music across the set of countries and will reduce costs for creators,” WIPO said.

“It will immediately benefit creators and rights holders, who will be more easily identified by people wanting to license their works. It will also help music licensing bodies, such as radio stations, streaming services and others, who want to include African music in their offerings,” WIPO said.

“Consumers will benefit by having greater access to this music as a result.”