Local artists label Nascam ‘toothless’

WINDHOEK: The Namibian Society of Composers and Authors of Music (Nascam) has been labelled toothless in the protection and promotion of artists' copyright, following its delayed distribution of N.dollars 1.8 million royalties fees for 2022. Nascam collects royalties fees on behalf of its member artists as per the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Protection Act 6 of 1994 aimed at protecting and promoting copyright and ensuring fair numeration. Speaking to Nampa here on Wednesday, renowned musician Lazarus Shiimi, popularly known as Gazza, said in terms of copyright, Namibian artists have been on their own for the longest time, following Nascam's failure to carry out its mandate. 'We have taken the matter into our hands...We are pushing and we do it because it's a passion for us. We have been investing in the industry even though we are being robbed everyday. When your song plays everyday in Pep store, Studio 88, or a club, we were supposed to be paid but we look at it knowing we are being robbed everyday because there is no infrastructure in place,' he stressed. Another musician, Angombe Fillemon, known by stage name as Filly-zo NamWater, stressed that Nascam is not serious in carrying out its mandate, noting that the majority of artists are not receiving any royalties for their songs and those receiving are paid peanuts. 'I think they are not serious with their work…I only got something from them four-years-ago, however, my songs are playing on radio and all other platforms, all those years and (I get) nothing,' he noted. Echoing the same sentiments was seasoned musician, Venaune Ben Kandukira, known professionally as Big Ben, who said as a collective, Nascam has failed to protect artists through commercial broadcasters playing their music without accountability of compensation. 'Nascam has been toothless for as long as I remember to enforce broadcasters bridging composensation to task. So, now we have many private radio stations playing songs without paying for them, the royalties collected now are most ly just from the national broadcasters. Nascam Chief Executive Officer, Albert Nicanor, said Nascam has no internal policy that stipulates a specific time for royalties to be paid out, however it has been distributing customarily in December of each year. 'I am currently preparing a policy that will mark the way forward on how and when we are going to pay the royalties… It is important that they will start to know exactly when to expect, the perception was always that royalties are due in December,' he noted. He further indicated that currently Nascam is busy rectifying its operations and engaging all those broadcasters infringing the Act. Source: The Namibia Press Agency