Among all the key speakers in grey suits at the World Intellectual Property Day commemorations that were held recently at Oasis Motel, one speaker stood out. It was Lerato Motshwarakgole, who as the main speaker made it clear that artists should not be asked to pay for auditions.
“In South Africa it is not easy to find people paying talent agencies for auditioning purposes. It must also be stopped in Botswana because it is a constraint in talent identification and development,” said Motshwarakgole a Motswana international actress based in Johannesburg, South Africa.
She has played acting roles in BBC productions and popular South African soap operas such as Generations.
“Contracts are very important in order to avoid exploitation from producers and can even go up to fifteen pages or more just to make fair agreements.”
The world stage, she explained, has moved to Africa.
“We can no longer afford to sit back, relax and fold our arms and be spectators. We need to catch up with the rest of the world and only now we are starting to find our bearings.”
Local Filmmakers had converged in Tlokweng to commemorate World Intellectual Property day, an annual event in which intellectuals celebrate their original works.
The Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS) under this year’s theme, “movies-a global passion”, hosted the workshop.
Intellectual Property rights are exclusive rights that are granted to creators, innovators and authors of original works. These are for example writings, books, photographs, journals, sculptures, articles, speeches, lectures, sermons, audio-visuals, paintings and sculptures.
Peter Modibetsane, a film producer at Dee Zone Productions said there must be some kind of regulations in the local film industry.
“People are tired of watching half baked productions that have recently been penetrating the market, so there should be other stake holders such as Botswana Bureau of Standards that need to be engaged to try and curb this problem,” he said.
He further added that the main problem in the local film industry was that there are people out there who have the skills but lack adequate funding to finance their projects.
Motshwarakgole says the movie industry has great potential to contribute to the socio-economic development and economic diversification. She said the movie industry in Botswana is still emerging from its infancy stage.
“If properly harnessed the movie industry can effectively contribute to employment creation and revenue collection. A good example can be Nigeria where they have been reported to have collected nearly US$11 billion in the past year.”
She added that the creative industries spur economic growth and enhance the quality and enjoyment of life. Indeed, gone are the days of undermining the arts.
The Copy Right Society of Botswana (COSBOTS) is the Collective Management Organisation in Botswana; incorporated in 2008 as a private company Limited by guarantee.
COSBOTS is mandated by the Copyright Neighbouring Rights Act CAP 68:02 to among others, license and collect royalties from users of copy right works to distribute to copyright owners.