Artistes to get free legal services, new digital platform: CS Ababu Namwamba

Youth Affairs, Sports and Arts Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba
Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Artistes are set to get free legal services and a digital platform to help them benefit from their works, Youth Affairs, Sports and the Arts CS Ababu Namwamba has said.

Speaking at a Creatives Summit held at the Kenya National Theatre, CS Namwamba also said that a digital platform titled Talanta Hela will soon be launched.

The platform’s key mandate will be to identify, develop, and monetise the talent of artistes from various sectors.

“Creatives will be able to market and sell their creative products while receiving payments through the same platform. This is very important and it is actually going to be a pivotal endeavour that we will be doing as a ministry. You all know that it is not easy to get spotted as an artiste, we want to make this easy.

“The creative sector is big business in other parts of the world and we will also make it big here with your help. Alongside this, we will also implement a National Arts Excellence Award, a Kenyan version of the Grammys geared towards identifying, awarding and celebrating excellence in different arts.

“I have already made the request to the attorney general to ask for several legal counsels who are going to be stationed at my ministry specifically for the interest of addressing issues for you creatives. You will not enter into any contract that we have not scrutinised page to page, to make sure that it is in your best interest. Because you are exploited by people who take advantage of your ignorance of the law. Artistes need to learn how to package themselves and their creative work for business,” he said.

According to the CS, the creative industry contributed 5.32 percent to the country’s GDP in 2021 and yet some of the most struggling people are from the creative industry. Some of the great names like Ojwang have suffered, which he said is a great shame to the government.

He added that he is aware that the industry faces many challenges, most notably issues surrounding the transparency of intellectual property, copyright management the royalties accrued from copyright and its displacement.

“Copyright holders are not receiving their royalties fully and this is because of several factors including noncompliance by users, inefficiency on how collection is done and I dare say there is also fraud in those who collect and distribute. I am aware that there was a forensic audit conducted on the three Collective Management Organisations CMOs,” he said.

“I want to let you know that I am following up with the director of criminal investigations and the office of the director of public prosecution on the status of the investigations and their prosecution.

“Those found to have stolen the earnings of an artiste generated through their creative work, be ready to face the consequences. 2023 licensing will only be issued to CMOs who have fulfilled the statutory provisions. Media houses will also be required to clear their royalty payment before their licenses are renewed,” CS Namwamba explained.

The audio-visual co-production agreement signed between Kenya and South Africa, he said, will see artistes from the two countries collaborate in a range of artistic productions.

“We are also going to start regulating foreign artistes performing here, because Kenya has become like a space where anyone can walk in and do their thing. Artistes perform here with absolutely no control but you cannot do the same in their countries,” CS Namwamba said.

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