The World Intellectual Property Organization recently announced the launch of a new program designed to simplify and standardize copyright processes for musical works in 11 West African countries.
According to WIPO, the initiative is intended to make the identification of musical works simpler, thereby helping creators get paid for their work through a standardized rights registration system.
Search engine giant Google will also be involved in the project, providing the technology behind the web-based system that will be used for the project.
Francis Gurry, director general of WIPO, said the current process for registering works in the affected countries is "complicated." The countries set to benefit from the project include Benin, Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo.
According to Gurry, the new project will provide musicians in the countries with a rights registry that will streamline the process of application. Furthermore, he said, a rights holder will only need to register a work once in order to have the information stored across all 11 countries.
Carlo d'Asaro Biondo, Google vice president for Southern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, welcomed the initiative. "We have a keen interest in making it easier for creators and performers to be remunerated for their works and in enabling new innovative content services to emerge online," he said.