Old Treasury Street - Commercial Avenue
+237 6 77 43 92 78




It is trite practice that anyone who gets into professional music, does so in order to reap the economic profits which the multibillion industry has to offer, while building a fan base and creating new songs or letting their creative spirit run wild at the pleasure of their fans. These artists have to ensure that their economic interest as well as their moral rights are guaranteed and protected.

In order to protect these rights, the artists and the public are required to be aware and understand the rights of artists. Once an idea has been expressed in a tangible form the author of the said work becomes the copyright owner of the work. He is thus bestowed some exclusive rights over the work and It becomes the intellectual property of the artist.  Just as there are law that govern real estate property so too are there laws that the protect and promote the intellectual property of the artist.

The rights of artists are grouped under two categories; the economic interest of the artist which covers the economic benefits through which the work of the artist attracts profits to the artists or his stakeholder such as; reproduction, translations, adaption amongst others; and the moral rights which permit the author to direct how his work is exposed to the public, who makes use of the work and for what purposes but for the exceptions provided for by the law.

An Author of any original literary or artistic work enjoy by the mere fact of creation an exclusive incorporeal property right in the work which is enforce against all person. The rights protected have two main attributes both of which are economic and moral in nature.

  1. Economic rights.

These refers to the rights to exploit the artist’s work in any form whatever and to obtain monetary gain therefrom. These rights last during the life time of the author and 50years after his/her death. It subsists after his death throughout the current calendar year and for the next fifty years. Where the author has a successor (next of kin) or rightful claimant, the rights will subsist for all his successor or rightful claimants during the year of the last surviving co-author plus fifty years for joint works. The artists have the exclusive rights to perform or authorize the following acts;

  • Reproduction: This is the material fixation of all or part of an original artistic or literal work through any means that will enable direct or indirect communication including permeant or temporary electronic storage. Electronic storage here will mean the use of servers and computer storage system wherein the music of the artist can be accessed by third parties after payment of some consideration.
  • Representation: This involves the communication of a literary or artistic work to the public, including its publication in such a way that everyone can have individual access to it. A Notable means of communication of ones work can be through wireless broadcast such as the radio or television by wire or any other similar technical device of sounds, images, text or messages of the same nature.
  • Representation will also mean the public recitation of an artist’s work maybe in another form other than the original form or still the same form the original work was created, a drama performance of the work.
  • Distribution: This refers to the offer to sell or lease, rent or any other act of marketing the original or copies of the work of the artist. Artists have the right to direct or authorize who gets to sell or rent out their projects (songs) and at what price.  The method of marketing the original or copies of the project is the soul priority of the artists.
  • Transformation: This means the adaptation, translation, arrangement or any other alteration of a literary or artistic work. Adaptation of a song literal mean translating the text and lyrics of the song to another language, this works together with arrangement of the original song with changes made on the score, rhythms and music of the song. A song which has been adapted and arranged is categorized as a derivative work as its stems from an original work. The artist who is most often the songwriter and performer will have to authorize such works. The author of the derivate work has to be diligent enough to obtain the written consent of all beneficiary to the original work such as the music publisher, the record label amongst others. Therefore, obtaining clearance is a paramount step in order to avoid an infringement suit.


  1. Moral rights of artist.

The moral right is linked to the personality of the artist. These rights are perpetual, inalienable and imprescriptible and they exist as long as the work of the artist exists.

It is inalienable in the sense that it cannot be transferred to the successor of the artist or to a third party at a consideration. The right continues to flow as long as the work exists and even after the death of the artist. Therefore, the moral right of the work subsists as long as the work exits and only disappears when the work disappears. These rights are linked to the personality of the artist they are perpetual, inalienable and imprescriptible.

Moral rights of artists are;

  • The right to disclosure and determination: Here the artist has the right to decide when his work shall be communicated to the public and to determine the form the said work is to assume. By so doing the artist has full control over the dissemination of his work and who is in charge of his work.
  • To claim ownership of his work: Ones the artist has produce his work and its out for consumption, the right to ownership does not relinquish from him. He remains the owner of the work no matter how much the said work has been disseminated out of his control. Whoever makes use of the work of the artist for whatever purpose must mention the name of the artist. For example, in using a song in a film, skit, advert or for any other purpose, the artist name must be mentioned.
  • The Right to integrity: The work of the artist always reflects the personality of the artist or sometimes in doing the work the artist baptized it with a personality of its own which is quickly recognized and appeasing to the fans. Once the integrity of this work is tampered with by a third party is general causes a nuance amongst the artist fans and particularly the artist. The artist has the right to stop anyone using his work in such a manner that affects the integrity of the said work.
  • The artist has the right to stop the dissemination of his/her music at any time and effect changes if he/she so desires. However, the artist will have to compensate any beneficiary of an authorization he had earlier issued to make use of the work.


With sufficient mastery of these rights, the artist tends to have firm authority over his work and by so doing has enough information to use in the eventuality of engaging into contracts of whatever nature.

Related Posts
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.Required fields are marked *