Burundian artists call for implementation of copyright law

Eight years after Burundi president signed a decree on copyright protection in 2011, Burundian artists say it has not been applied yet.

Yves Kami: “The law has been introduced but has not yet been implemented”

Yves Kami, a Burundian artist says their works are still unlawfully used while the law was supposed to be applied since 2011. “The law has been introduced but has not so far been implemented so that artists get advantage of their works”.

He calls on the Burundi Copyright Office-OBDA to do its job and protect their works by sensitizing the copyright and approach users to their works so that they can get royalty payment.

Freddy Kwizera known as Bochum, chairman of the Association of Burundi Musicians, says OBDA has to redouble efforts because artists are discouraged. “Even registered songs are still broadcast on radio stations, in night clubs and bars without their permission. This discourages other artists”.
Nadine Ndayizeye, chairperson OBDA, says her institution is doing its best to protect artists’ property. “193 users have already signed an agreement with us for copyright. We have also registered 674 others and the sensitization is ongoing,” she says adding that it is not an easy task “because the notion of copyright is something new in Burundi.”

She says the mission of the copyright office is to protect intellectual property and to guarantee compensation to the artist in case of use. “We make sure this is being done”.

Mrs. Ndayizeye calls on artists to register their works in the copyright office. “Artists have to know that they have got roles to play. OBDA has only received around 50 works while we know that there are many artistic works that need to be protected,” she says.

She reminds that the registered works cannot be stolen by others even though OBDA has not yet been able to ensure royalty payment. “Artists can still register their works at the Burundi copyright office for their protection”.

Burundi Copyright Office was established by the presidential decree in September 2011 in order to protect artists’ works.