A three-day seminar for stakeholders in the music industry sponsored by Celtel, British Council and the American embassy at the Miatta Conference hall in Freetown, ended on Thursday.
Issues deliberated on were the weak and outdated copyright laws and enforcement mechanisms to protect original music; the absence of international quality studios; the absence of internationally recognised record labels; inability to market music internationally and the lack of understanding among various players on their roles and responsibilities.
Participants charted the way forward and ended up with a plan of action. A clear understanding by stakeholders in the music industry of their roles and responsibilities was also heightened.
Participants also agreed on the establishment of a music collection society and also to lobby policy makers to review and strengthen copyright legislation and enforcement mechanisms.
Speaking with Premier Media’s managing director, Dr Julius Spencer, prior to the conclusion of the seminar, he explained that several issues were heightened during the discussions and brilliant recommendations were being made.
Speaking about marketing Sierra Leonean music internationally via the internet, Dr Spencer stated that ideas in relation to internet marketing had not yet been finalised, but however noted that Sierra Leonean music would soon be sold globally through the internet.
“The selling agencies do not need to have a credit card only buyers need credit cards,” he said.
“We have a website with the capacity to sell and pay the proceeds to whatever account the artists might designate…” Dr Spencer maintained.
Throwing light on the issue of copyright, the Premier Media boss accentuated that, “before the stakeholders’ conference, President Kabbah conveyed a meeting on the issue of copyright and how to address it.”
He noted further that recommendations came out of the meeting and the police were instructed to enforce them.
Most of the stakeholders in the conference did not know the provisions of the law, Dr Spencer said.
He stated that, “the representative of the ministry of Trade and Industry highlighted their frantic efforts to address piracy and we are going to use that opportunity to ensure that copyright laws are enforced”.