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PIRACY IN SENEGAL
Equipping Senegal with a law against piracy! Such is the reasserted conviction of Senegalese artists, invited to an international meeting on the fight against imitation in Dakar (from the 8th to 10th November, 2006 initiated by the World Organization of Customs (OMD, 169 Member Countries). According to them, the time for dialogue and dissuasion is long gone. Now is the time to repress this endemic stealing.
Senegal must "strike hard and firmly" those who pirate the artists’ works! Such is the wish of the Senegalese artists. The country could gain from this repression for, as in Mali, the loss caused by the pirates is enormous. According to the nightingale Seck Thione, it amounts to « F CFA billion and billion gone». For this artist author with many successful albums, «were there no piracy, I could have bought an island, seeing the number of songs that I composed in more than 30 years of career». Malian stars such as Salif Kéita, Oumou Sangaré, Abdoulaye Diabaté, Amadou and Mariam... can make similar assertion. «We sensitized, spoke, but that resulted in a much do almost about nothing. Pirates continue to suck us, wherever one goes, they are always there, in the street, at each crossroad you can see them selling pirated cassettes, counterfeited CD and VCD», thunders Omar Pène, star of the group Super Diamono, also present in the musical arena for more than 30 years.
According to the composer interpreter Abdoul Aziz Dieng, president of Senegal Music Works Association (AMS) and Chairman of the Board of the Senegalese Copyright Office (BSDA), out of 10 Senegalese artists CD on the local market, «only two are legal». For audio cassettes, the ratio is three pirated out of five sold. As the Director Sheik Ngaido Ba Chairman of the Senegalese Film makers (Cinéséas) said, «about 80% to 100% of the video-cassettes on loan in shops are fraudulently duplicated copies».
Mali, less than 1 % of the cassettes and CD sold by the itinerant salesmen
are pirated copies. In addition to this, are these young carters (rickshaws)
who spend whole days crossing Malian cities to duplicate the last hits
meet the to wish of the clients obviously unconscious of the harm they
idols will suffer from. «Some of the pirates make sales turnovers
from F CFA 500.000 to 1.8 million (that is Euro762 to 2.744) a day,
and we are here talking about cottage industries pirates. As a matter
of fact, I have seen no one jailed for piracy», affirmed Abdoul
Aziz Dieng, deploring a legal gap on the matter. According to some country
layers, Senegal acknowledge only counterfeit offence, whose authors
incur from 3 months to 2 years sentences with fine, or that of a mere
fines amounting from FCFA 50.000 to 300.000 (that is Euro 76 to 457).
It is almost the case in other West African countries suffering from
piracy such as Mali. «To hope to win, the complaining artist should
go through a heavy procedure: a request to the judge, who must deliver
an ordinance permitting a seizure of the counterfeited objects but only
in the presence of an usher», specifies Me Youssou Soumaré,
lawyer specialized in Copyright. «Today, the procedure is so long
that the pirate has no problem getting rid of the counterfeited product
of his offense (...) therefore, we are wrong to pride about the case.
We must strike hard and firmly the pirates, we must be dissuasive and
repress», think Abdoul Aziz Dieng. «A chicken thief is liable
to sentence. We have to move in the same direction to frighten the pirates»,
added Omar Pène. An opinion shared by Seck Thione for whom, «a
law to protect the authors and to make piracy a criminal offence is
needed. Otherwise, one cannot get through».
But, this political good-will should not remain just a speech to create an empty shell. In Mali for example, the brigade against piracy set up about two years ago, is long to meet the expectation because it has no means to be effective. There is no use setting up a special brigade against piracy if one does not give it the necessary means (human, material and logistic resources) to carry out its duty.
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