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How To Copyright A Song In Tanzania


What is copyright?

Copyright is a legal right created by the law of a country, that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to its use and distribution, usually for a limited time, with the intention of enabling the creator (e.g. a musician) to receive compensation for their intellectual effort.

When are copyrights created?

Musical and Artistic works cannot be copyrighted unless the work has been written down, recorded or otherwise reduced to material form.

For compositions, the copyright is automatically created when music or lyrics are recorded, put on paper, or otherwise written down in a document

For master recordings, the copyright is created as soon as “a sound recording is fixed, meaning that the sounds must be captured in a medium. This may be “in a digital track, disk, tape, or other formats”.

Which law governs copyrights in Tanzania?

Copyright is governed by the Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act No 7 of 1999 (CAP 218 RE 2002).

Which institution is tasked with registration of copyright in Tanzania?

Copyright Society of Tanzania (COSOTA) is an organization established under Section 46 of the Act. This section is responsible for managing copyright issues in Tanzania. As such, COSOTA is established to promote and protect the interest of performers, translators and publishers.

How does one register a copyright?

Step 1: Visit the COSOTA offices in your location as an individual or group and obtain the application form

The following documents are required:

  • Two copies of the copyrighted work;

  • Two passport-size photos of the applicant;

  • A copy of the applicant’s passport, National Identity card or birth certificate;

  • A copy of the passport, National Identity card or birth certificate of the applicant’s next of kin; and,

  • A copy of any agreement or other document evidencing other rights holders’ contributions to and/or ownership of the copyrighted work.

Step 2: Fill the application form and attach all the required documents to it.

Step 3: Pay the membership application fees and submit your application

Step 4: Your application will be verified and you will be registered as a member of the COSOTA

Step 5: COSOTA will provide you with the copyright clearance certificate.

You can submit an application by visiting our office at:Plot No. 271, Chato Street, Regent Estate, Mikocheni, Kinondoni, Dar es Salaam from Monday to Friday 7:30am to 15:30hours. Telephone +255 656 084954 and +255 786 464007

What is the duration of Copyright?

  • In Tanzania copyright lasts for the lifetime of the author and fifty years after the death of the author.

  • In case of joint authorship copyright shall be protected during the life of the last surviving author and fifty years after his death

  • In case of a work published anonymously or under pseudonym copyright shall be protected for fifty years from the date which the work was either made, first made available to the public whichever is the latest

  • In audiovisual works copyright shall be protected for fifty years from the date on which the work was either made available to the public, or first published whichever date is latest

  • In applied art copyright shall be protected for twenty five years from making of the work

  • In sound recordings copyright shall be protected for fifty years from when the recording was first published

How much does copyrighting a song cost?

Form No


Name of the Form

Form to be Completed



Individual Application form for membership

By Individual



​Group Application form for Membership

By a Group or a Company



Individual Member Annual Subscription

Annual Fees



Group Member Annual Subscription

Annual Fees



Work Declaration

By Applicant

All payments and collections in cash and in cheque should be made and addressed to: Copyright Society of Tanzania, CRDB Bank, A/C No.01J1008069401


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