QOTD: Corporate Authorship and Duration of Copyright in Kenya

kenya application for registration of copyright form KeCoBo

Today’s Question of the Day (QOTD) is on the duration of copyright where the author of the copyright work is a juristic person.

Authorship is at the core of copyright law. It determines ownership of copyright in the first instance. It provides a defence to alleged infringement. Most importantly, authorship determines the duration of copyright.

Section 2(1) of the Copyright Act defines an “author” in relation to the various categories of copyright works as a “person”

Section 23(2) of the Act states that copyright lasts for 50 years after the death of the author. The duration of copyright is computed from the end of the year in which the author dies for literary, musical and artistic works excluding photographs. The length of copyright protection is measured by reference to the human author’s lifespan.

The cumulative effect of these two sections of the Act would be that the word “person” refers only to a natural person, since the length of copyright protection is measured by reference to the human lifespan.

However, the current practice and procedures for copyright registration in Kenya allow for both natural and juristic persons to be applicants as well as authors for the purposes of copyright registration. Where the application for registration of copyright is successful, the copyright registration certificate issued by the Kenya Copyright Board (KeCoBo) may be in the name of either an individual or a company.

The question then arises, how long does the copyright last where the author is a juristic person and not a natural person?

Given that a juristic person, unlike a natural person, enjoys perpetual succession, does this mean that copyright in works of corporate authorship exist in perpetuity never to expire?

Read the rest over at the CIPIT Law Blog here.

State of Kenya’s Intellectual Property Protection and Enforcement Regime


A study commissioned by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) initiative reports that Kenya’s current intellectual property (IP) rights regime performs poorly in international gauges, ranking 95th of 130 countries in the IPR Index and 106th of 140 economies in the Global Competitiveness Index 2010. The BASCAP report, “Promoting and Protecting the Value of IP in Kenya”, sets out BASCAP’s recommendations for policy and legislative changes needed to bring Kenya’s IP regime and IP enforcement efforts up to international standards.

The full 2013 BASCAP Report is available here.

Legislative recommendations:

+ Address deficiencies in criminal IP law and procedures, particularly fines and penalites in the Anti-Counterfeit Act

+ Improve border enforcement provisions in the Anti-Counterfeit Act

+ Address deficiencies in the Copyright Act, 2001, particularly penalties for infringement and delineation of KECOBO and ACA mandates.

+ Improve and expedite civil enforcement procedures, and procedures with respect to the Trade Marks Act, 2001.

+ Grant powers to the ACA to settle matters out of court under the Anti-Counterfeit Act, 2008 in addition the power to destroy counterfeit goods and impose fines.

Policy recommendations:

+ Establish an inter-agency approach between the different Kenya Agencies administering and enforcing IP rights.

+ Establish an inter-agency approach with private sector coordination.

+ Expand IP-related administrative and technical capacity building

+ Increase public and political awareness of counterfeiting and piracy and the associated economic and social harm.

Balamine Ouattara: New Regional Director for African Copyright Societies

Balamine Ouattara BBDA

CISAC, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers, works towards increased recognition and protection of creators’ rights. CISAC was founded in 1926 and is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation. Its headquarters are in Paris, with regional offices in Budapest, Santiago de Chile, Johannesburg and Singapore.

CISAC now reports that Mr. Balamine Ouattara has joined CISAC Secretariat as the new Regional Director for Africa. Ouattara has previously served on the CISAC Board, the CISAC African Regional Committee and at the helm of the Bureau Burkinabé du Droit d’Auteur (BBDA).

Ouattara’s goal is to establish the new CISAC Regional Office with a transfer from Johannesburg, South Africa (where his predecessor Mr. Robert Hooijer was based) to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. In his new role, he will cover 35 Member Societies operating in Africa, including the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) and is going to work toward the creation and implementation of new offices in Africa.

Félicitations M. Ouattara pour sa nomination au poste de Directeur des affaires Africaines à la Confédération internationale des sociétés d’auteurs et compositeurs (CISAC)!

In his first official message to the Heads of African Copyright Societies, Ouattara says in part:

“Dear colleagues,

As you know by the message of Mr. Olivier Hinnewinkel, General Manager of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) I am honored to assume function of Africa Regional Director of CISAC (ARD/CISAC), since March 1, 2013. I therefore replace to this position, Mr. Robert Hooijer to whom I pay tribute for the enormous contribution he brought to Africa for the development of the sector of ​​literary and artistic property. On behalf of all, I say to him thanks again.
I arrive to this important post when Africa of copyright and collective management is faced with huge challenges, including those relating to rising of its perception rate (0.6% of the the global collect), the narrowness of its market of copyright in the global space and the need to improve the functionality of its network of Collecting Societies are not slightest.

However, I keep with you, the hope the possibility of emergence of a true African Copyright and Collective Management. To do this we need more vision, organization, boldness, conviction and commitment. These qualities, we have it all and even more in terms of capacity and potentialities. That is why I remain convinced and optimistic that with the help of each of you, we will advance more African of copyright and collective management.”

Constitutional Protection of Traditional Knowledge in Zimbabwe and the Robert Mugabe Fashion Brand


Recently, the people of Zimbabwe went to the polls in a referendum vote for the acceptance or rejection of a draft new Constitution to replace the Lancaster Constitution of 1980, tied with their independence from Britain in 1980.

A copy of the Constitution Select Committee (COPAC) Final Draft Constitution is available here.

Local media reports now indicate that Zimbabweans have voted in overwhelmingly in favour of the new Constitution.

This blogger has been going through Zimbabwe’s new Constitution and came across three interesting provisions, as quoted below:

16 Culture

(2) The State and all institutions and agencies of government at every level, and all Zimbabwean citizens, must endeavour to preserve and protect Zimbabwe’s heritage.


33 Preservation of traditional knowledge

The State must take measures to preserve, protect and promote indigenous knowledge systems, including knowledge of the medicinal and other properties of animal and plant life possessed by local communities and people.


71 Property rights

(1) In this section –

property means property of any description and any right or interest in property.

Read the rest of this article over at the CIPIT Law Blog here.

Contextualising Intellectual Property, Internet Regulation and Justice in the Digital Age


“If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation…until the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act!” – Prof. Lawrence Lessig, Feb. 19, 2013.

This quote by Lessig is paraphased from a letter by Thomas Jefferson to Isaac McPherson in August 1813.

Watch Lessig’s full lecture here. Inspiring and profound.