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Music association seeks Copyright Order amendment

Lerato Matheka

MASERU — Lesotho Music Rights Association (LMRA) sways it is happy with the government’s commitment to update the Copyright Order of 1989 to protect artistes from piracy.
The statement comes a week after Prime Minister Thomas Thabane promised to table the Copyright Bill before parliament to halt piracy and ensure artistes are paid their royalties.
Thabane was speaking during a function at Manthabiseng Convention Centre last Friday to review the coalition’s achievements over the past 100 days.
Thabane said Lesotho needed “to protect and conserve our national heritage resources”.
“Our key objective here is to develop and implement Copyright Regulations and update the Copyright Order of 1989 and this has been done,” he said.
LMRA spokesman, Ramosa Bosiu, said although they were still to speak to the premier about their problems they are happy that the government had committed itself to tackle their problems.
He said this indicated that the “minister we report to is serious about service delivery and takes us seriously”.
“We are confident that things are now going to start happening. We understand that to get things done there are steps that must be followed and we will patiently wait to see what happens in future,” he said.
“We have done well as an industry in creating jobs. Behind one artiste, there are more than 10 Basotho who are benefiting. The sooner things are done, the better for the country in the fight against unemployment.”
Bosiu said the coalition government which took over power in June had always had a soft spot for the music industry adding he is confident the government’s plans to halt piracy will succeed.
“This government has already responded to a lot of our cries. When you walk down the streets of Maseru, you no longer see any counterfeits and it’s all thanks to their commitment.
“In September the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture helped gospel artistes to be included in the line-up for the Morija Arts and Cultural Festival despite the committee complaining about finances.
“We are very humbled to work with people who understand the importance of art and music and its potential to strengthen the country’s economy. We hope they will not change with time,” he said.
He said the LMRA is committed to promoting local artistes.
“We wish to be given an opportunity to monitor and handle performances to ensure that local artistes are prioritised. We are confident that all those with the passion and talent can safely join the industry without worries because of the level of commitment that has been shown by the government.”

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