“I find it very appropriate for Rwanda to recognise the intellectual property day, not as a way of showing that we are set but rather as a way of looking back at this issue by joining the rest of the world since it is a global challenge.
For the last couple of years, there have been a lot of initiatives by the local musicians with support from the police, who have looked at ensuring studios in the country don’t sell their music.
Filmmakers created IRIZACART, along with the newly established Rwanda Society of Authors, which will protect artists in general and the creative industries in Rwanda.
Unfortunately, some artists are still ignorant about the intellectual property rights. On several occasions, musicians request radio presenters to play their songs, while filmmakers beg film festivals and TV stations to screen their films for free.
All this is in pursuit of recognition, fame and creating an identity with hope to be contacted for concerts and other major presentations that will pay off in the future. But the question is “FOR HOW LONG?”
Rwanda as a country has not put together a creative industry body that could draft, enforce, and implement the law about entertainment and creative industries.
There are no entertainment lawyers in the country. Thus, it is difficult for artists to understand their rights, since the intellectual property is a wide subject. For example, the Art Law; Copyright, International rights; Entertainment Law; Literary Property; Music Publishing; Trade Dress; Trade Name , but to mention a few.
Note that the question of copyright is a question of ethics, where you find artists themselves breaking copyright laws and giving value to their own creations.”
Pierre Kayitana is the director of Rwanda Cinema Centre and Rwanda Film Festival Event.