‘Treat art as a business’

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 Mamohlakola Letuka

LESOTHO Music Rights Association legal advisor, Leisa Leisanyane says there is a lot that needs to be done in terms of improving the quality of work as well as regulations before artistes can fully benefit from their craft.

Mr Leisanyane said this in a recent interview with the Lesotho Times in Maseru.

He said among other things, artistes should put more effort and “professionalise their work in order to turn their passion into a profitable business that is more competitive”.

He further said artistes needed to invest in professional expertise in the form of lawyers, accountants, and brand managers to handle their work.

“Having professionals extending their expertise into making art a business will grow the industry leading to more revenue for creatives which automatically means more tax revenue for the government and the economy.”

“The fact that most artistes haven’t shifted their paradigm into seeing art as more of a business as opposed to a hobby, compromises the art in Lesotho from growing into an industry.

“Art needs to be treated as business by the creators and the consumers. If art is treated as business, we shall have policies and laws regulating it.”

He said that the Copyright Order of 1989 and the 2015 and 2016 regulations were the laws in place to protect creatives work in Lesotho, adding although these were flawed, their enforcement would assist artistes.

“Lesotho is in definite need of among other polices, the National Intellectual Property Policy which will go as far as covering the usage of creative and cultural works produced in Lesotho.

“We need different kinds of policies to regulate the usage of different kinds of creative works and this calls for the creators to exert pressure and influence the policy maker to make policies that can best cover their creations.”

He furthered that there was not enough appreciation of art in Lesotho and consumers did not value the intellectual effort artistes put into creating their art to a point where they could actually pay for it.

He added that artistes did not have adequate resources to produce quality work.

He also noted that Lesotho could emulate countries like the United Kingdom (UK), Japan and the United States of America (USA) in benefiting from the creative industry.

“In the UK the creative industry contributes about £90 billion (M354 billion) to the net gross domestic product and accounts for one in every 11 jobs,” he said.

He added that according to the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), the creative and cultural industries provide 30 million jobs worldwide.

CISAC also reports that revenue from the creative and cultural industries exceed telecom services and employ more people than the car industry in Europe, Japan, and the USA.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation also reports that creators in all artistic sectors are major contributors to the world economy in terms of revenue and jobs.

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