Now That Sierra Leone Has Its Own Draconian Copyright Law, It Too Can Create Its Own Akon

from the say-what-now? dept

jupiterkansas points us to the news that Sierra Leone, a country with a per capita annual GDP of $311, which apparently puts it right near the bottom of the Human Poverty Index (above only Niger and Afghanistan), has decided that a key priority should be passing a new copyright law that will put “pirates” in jail for three years. The politicians supporting the bill seemed to use the claim that this would allow the music industry to employ more youths, in a country with notorious unemployment for young people. However, as the article notes, a bunch of young people are freaking out that this is actually killing their job opportunities:

At PZ, the so-called business center of Freetown, some youths told Salonejamboree that the new Act would put them out of business. Tejan Kabba, a dealer in music and video cds, appealed to the Government to take a second hard look at the Copyright law and restrict it to just local songs and films.

Similarly, Ali Kargbo said trading in pirated cds has been paying his school fees since he migrated from Lunsar in search of a better life in the capital.

Even more ridiculous? The industry group behind the bill claimed that passing this law would help local artists “compete with Akon” on the international stage:

At State House, the President of Cassette Sellers Association (CSA) described President Ernest Bai Koroma as a ?Prophet? and the ?Peoples Leader?. Abubakarr Kamara said he is looking forward to Sierra Leonean artists competing with the likes of Akon and others in the international market.

Yes, because all that was missing for the next Akon to come out of Sierra Leone was local copyright laws? Huh?

In the meantime, can someone send the Sierra Leone government a copy of SSRC’s report on “piracy” in emerging markets, and how enforcement strategies don’t work at all and can backfire badly?

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Comments on “Now That Sierra Leone Has Its Own Draconian Copyright Law, It Too Can Create Its Own Akon”

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bdhoro (profile) says:

Sierra Leone Refugee Allstars

The album living like a Refugee by the Sierra Leone Refugee Allstars says a lot to me about the ability of music to thrive in that environment without strict copyright.

Their ability to compete with Akon is obviously in no way helped by this, they’re already touring in America, mostly because people were able to listen to their music in America and make them popular by downloading their albums.

The biggest hurdle in competing with Akon is becoming well known enough to compete with him, not in having the ability to sell songs but in the ability for so many artists to recognize and want to collaborate with talent.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Don’t employers look at job candidate’s criminal history, see a black mark there and then not hire them? So…explain to me how this would allow the music industry employ more youths.
Or will it be like indentured servitude “You are found guilty of copyright infringement. You can go to jail for three years, be slapped with a fine that no-one in the country has the ability to pay…or work off your debt to society by working with the recording (not music) industry” (judge then thinks to himself that the recording industry can then trumpet the fact they employ young people who will be out of a job if you buy pirated cassettes)

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Does anything that happens there really matter?

Of course it matters, it matters to everyone that have to live there.

Like the moose when they rebel and get stomped by the government.


“Who was the idiot who approved an art show by that woman, Franke James?”

So they phoned the corporate sponsor and got them to cancel their $75,000 grant, and started bullying the NGO that was putting the show together.

DannyB (profile) says:

Draconian copyright laws == megastars and money

The entertainment industry either accidentally has, or deliberately selects acts that become rich and famous.

They must have a few to hold out as examples in order to sell the dream to others. Sort of like the lottery. Look! Someone won millions of dollars, so rush out and buy your lottery tickets.

How many no-talent acts have become huge stars? Some whose only talent was their appearance and that their voice wasn’t sooo bad that it couldn’t be auto tuned.

Now it all makes sense. You can go to a country with a $311 GDP and sell people on the idea that with draconian copyright laws, you can now compete on the world stage and have acts that bring in mega dollars. And without draconian copyright laws this cannot happen.

Now if they really believe this line they are pushing, then it can only be because they understand that without these laws, they aren’t going to select someone from that country to reward with a certain amount of money and minimal amount of fame.

Anonymous Coward says:

What is more important is that in a market where there are actual controls in place and government action against piracy, the actual producing companies can now come in and start to sell their products, hiring the local people to staff their stores and the like.

When you move away from a black market economy, good things can happen. It’s not an overnight thing, but the demand for music is there, and I am sure that enterprising individuals will fill the void nicely, hopefully within the law.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Not only I am SURE it will be but I have my country as an example. Our average income is not even near what we see in the US and the CDs are MORE EXPENSIVE than in the US. Nowadays after the US Govt printed a lot of money with no coverage to bailout some greedy execs from Wall Street we got NEAR the value you pay there.

Who was clueless again??

Prisoner 201 says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Exactly. There is no adjustment of price to local buying power aside from the fact that store rental costs and worker wages are probably lower.

The high price one of the reasons piracy is so rampant in for example india – there is simply too many that have no way to afford music or movies at the prices set by the western media companies.

Alien Bard says:

Re: Re:

Try doing some research before talking about something you know nothing about. Find some WW2 civilian survivors and ask them about the black market… what caused it, how it worked, what efforts the government made to stop it, how it actually ended. (I’ll give you a hint on the last one – the black market ended almost overnight with very little help from law enforcement)

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