Licensing Digital Works and Copyright Law in Kenya

Editor’s note:
IPKenya invites you all to an IP discussion session dubbed ‘IP Check-in’ to be held at the Nairobi Innovation Hub (*iHub_) on Saturday May 12, 2012 from 11 am. The topic of software licensing and intellectual property will be discussed.

Our point of departure is that in Kenya, the definition of a ‘computer program’ under the Copyright Act envisages software to be part of literary works. A computer program is defined as follows:

a set of instructions expressed in words, codes, schemes or in any other form, which is capable, when incorporated in a medium that the computer can read, of causing a computer to perform or achieve a particular task or result.

In some jurisdictions, like the US, software has been protected under copyright and patent as well.

Licensing is one of the means by which the owner of copyright can exercise his or her economic rights. In this regard, Section 33 of Kenya’s Copyright Act states that:

33.(1) Subject to this section, copyright shall be transmissible by assignment, by licence, testamentary.disposition, or by operation of law as movable property.

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