Representatives from the International Council of Music Authors (CIAM) and the Pan African Composers’ & Songwriters’ Alliance (PACSA), travelled to Algiers with creators from 18 African countries on the 14 and 15 September to participate in the largest meeting of its kind ever held in Africa. After two days of discussion, an unprecedented new relationship had been formed between international organisations and local authors societies to better protect and promote the work of African creators.
The event, titled “African Screenwriters, Writers and Music Creators from Here and Abroad” was organised, in conjunction with the Algerian government, by the International Confederation of Authors and Composers (CISAC), the Algerian Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Office (ONDA), the Pan African Composers’ & Songwriters’ Alliance (PACSA), Writers & Directors Worldwide, and the International Council of Music Creators (CIAM). Crucially, a number of pan-African creator and copyright organisations were also in attendance including the Pan-African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI), the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) and the African Intellectual Property Organisation (OAPI).
Opening the meeting with the Algerian Minister of Culture, Azzedine Mihoubi, CISAC Director General Gadi Oron recognised and welcomed the efforts of the Algerian state in the field of copyright protection and the development of African culture. He also recognised and encouraged the continued efforts of ONDA in the organisation of training courses for staff from societies responsible for the collective management of authors’ rights in African countries, and for having initiated these meetings.
There followed two full days of updates and discussion including a presentation on world and African music creators’ rights protection campaigns from CIAM President, Lorenzo Ferrero. A separate meeting also took place between CIAM and its international partner, the Pan African Composers’ & Songwriters’ Alliance (PACSA), to discuss the future outreach and the training initiatives of the alliance.
The Algiers Declaration
At the close of the meeting, all the attendees undertook to coordinate and pool their efforts to meet and defend the rights of creators on the African continent. The group also issued “the Algiers Declaration”, a call on behalf of African creators that comprised four statements.
- We call on African countries to make culture a vehicle for fellowship and solidarity between the continent’s people and a means to strengthen their identity by making creation and art, in all of its forms of expression, a driver of economic and social development and a tool to combat racism and extremism.
- We invite African countries to continue their sustained actions and to promote their joint initiatives for the strengthening and consolidation of copyright and related rights in accordance with international conventions and good practices.
- We call for closer cooperation between African and international bodies specialising in the protection of creators’ rights.
- We agree and commit to the common priority objective of defending creators by addressing the transfer of value at legal and economic levels, through the implementation of a right to remuneration for audiovisual authors and by harmonising the term of protection of copyright and neighbouring rights.
CIAM has already had considerable influence in the region through its partnership with PACSA; a network that represents more than 18,000 African composers and artists, many of them with an international reputation. Over a number of years, the two organisations have conducted considerable lobbying, networking and copyright awareness training in various African countries to help bring the voice of Africa to music creators from the rest of the world.
“The meeting of creators in Algeria this week was an unprecedented event. The presence of so many creators from both musical and audiovisual repertoires all over Africa have strengthened the bonds between authors, while CIAM, PACSA and CISAC have all become recognised partners of inter-government IP organisations such as the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation and the African Intellectual Property Organisation. We are all now fully aligned and committed to our continued support of African creators.”
Lorenzo Ferrero – Composer and President of CIAM.