This week, African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) hosted the WIPO African Sub-regional Workshop on New Perspectives on Copyright organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) from 20 – 21 July 2015.
The Workshop drew Heads of Copyright Offices in the ARIPO Member States and some Observer States who took part in this crucial Workshop aimed at discussing the management of Copyright and Related Rights in the face of new challenges emanating from new digital technologies. Also in attendance were copyright officials from Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago who shared their experiences with their African colleagues.
What follows is a summary of the presentations made by the various participants at the Workshop.
Sonia Cruickshank from WIPO spoke about: “WIPO’s Project Based Approach”. WIPO is currently offering services in the following areas: training (study visits, in-house, interregional programs), public awareness (workshops, seminars, outreach tools) and legislative framework (hiring consultants to do drafting and supporting stakeholder consultation). WIPO Program 3 deals with copyright and related rights. This program aims at providing technical assistance to developing countries and LDCs focussed on building technical and knowledge capacity within institutions, such as national copyright offices, and among stakeholders, to facilitate the effective use of the copyright system for social, cultural and economic development. Cruickshank challenged the African countries represented at the Workshop to put forward their ideas for the African Region or ideas for Country-specific Projects.
Keitseng Nkah Monyatsi from Botswana presented on the topic: “Capacity Building: Developing and Implementing Awareness Raising Programs for Stakeholders in the Creative Industries”. Monyatsi argues that the Copyright Office should play a pivotal role in coordinating and implementing awareness raising initiatives. In this regard, a systematic approach to awareness raising can help the copyright office develop programs that are relevant for each target group thus aiding the achievement of better results. After carrying out awareness raising, Monyatsi says that monitoring and evaluation of programs and activities will enable the measurement of the impact and inform future initiatives. Monyatsi underscore the need for engagement of stakeholders and exchange of information (including initiatives carried out) between countries which would strengthen the development and implementation of effective awareness raising initiatives.
Kenneth Musamvu from Zambia spoke on “Building Capacity in the Management of Copyright Works for Small Offices”. According to Musamvu, the prevailing situation in copyright administration among small institutions is characterised by one-man-shows or are manned by few staff, poor funding, lack of autonomy from the government ministry responsible for copyright, unknown to the rights holders and the public and have limited mandates. Among Musamvu’s recommendations, he urges Copyright Offices to network with peers through Social media thereby learning from their colleagues in the field. Finally, Musamvu concludes by saying: “Building capacity in the management of copyright for small offices is vital for the advancement of IP in developing countries. Capacity building is not a one – off event. It is a process that takes time and dedication.”
George Lipimile from Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Competition Commission presented a paper titled: “Copyright And Competition Policy In The Digital Arena : Consideration For Developing Countries.” In this paper, it is argued that African countries need a more harmonized copyright regime which provides incentives to create and invest while allowing transmission and consumption of content across borders, building on their rich culture diversity. Among the contributions made by COMESA to achieve a digital single market within COMESA includes commencing negotiations on common market data protection rules; by modernizing copyright rules in the light of the digital revolution and changed consumer behavior; by modernizing and simplifying consumer rules for online and digital purchases; by boosting digital skills and learning across society and facilitate the creation of innovative start-ups.
Marisella Ouma from Kenya presented presented one of two papers at the Workshop. This paragraph focusses on her paper titled: “Recent Developments In Exceptions And Limitations: The Continued Role Of Developing Countries”. In this paper, Ouma states that WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) started the discussion on exceptions and limitations (E&Ls) focussed on the following areas: (a) Visually Impaired Persons (VIPs); (b) Libraries and Archives (L&As); and (c) Educational and Research Institutions (E&RIs). On VIPs, Ouma cites the recent adoption of the WIPO Marrakesh Treaty which is yet to come into force. On L&As, discussions are still on-going with developing countries opposing proposals to come up with a separate international instrument for the exceptions and limitations for L&As. On E&RIs, Ouma notes that more studies are required since some existing laws do provide for E&Ls under fair dealing but it is considered restrictive for several reasons.
Dora Makwinja from Malawi spoke on: “Resale Rights: What Are The Benefits For Developing Countries?”. The Resale Right or Droit de suite refers to an author’s right to share in the proceeds of subsequent sales of his or her original works (literary or artistic). Makwinja observes that in general the royalty rate charged is between 3% to 5% of the gross sale price. Makwinja argues that a resale right would offer numerous benefits to visual artists in developing countries. In 2013, royalties in Italy from the resale right were 10 times those of paper reproduction rights. In the UK, GBP 8.4 million was collected as compared to GBP 1.5million for copyright licensing. In Africa, some of the countries that have a resale right in their copyright law include: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia.
Doreen Sinare from Tanzania presented a country report on the status of copyright in Tanzania as well as a paper titled: “Application Of Copyright In The Craft Sector: Using Copyright To Promote This Sector”. Sinare emphasised the importance of a resale right in the crafts sector by giving the example of Tanzanian Rajabu Chiwaya who sold his work “Gold Spotted Leopard and Friend The Songbird” for less than $100 and the same work was later resold in an auction in Paris for €36,776 (approximately $55,000). Sinare and Ameir speaking on behalf of mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar respectively explained that IP is not a union matter under the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1977 as amended. Therefore IP rights in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar are administered different laws and agencies. With regard to copyright, both Copyright Society of Tanzania (COSOTA) and Copyright Society of Zanzibar (COSOZA) are multi-disciplinary organisations i.e. working both as Copyright Offices and Collective Management Organisations. Therefore they deal with all functions in the administration of copyright and related rights.
Marisella Ouma from Kenya presented one of two papers at the Workshop. This paragraph focusses on her paper titled: “Copyright Contracts: Can they be used to manage Personality Rights?”. In this paper, Ouma states that actors, performers and other celebrities can claim the rights as part and parcel of their moral rights as the extension of their persona. In this regard, Ouma proposes that the clause on personality rights in copyright contract must be clear and specific. This clause may also be included in contracts of engagement or combined in the clause on merchandising.
O.E. Odokwo from Nigeria presented a paper titled: “From Cross Border Measures To The Digital Environment, What Are The Options For Developing Countries In Copyright Enforcement?”. Odokwo notes that the application of the present Nigerian Copyright Law to the digital environment raises some fundamental concerns notably that existing provisions are not properly suited for dealing with digital exploitation of copyright works in the digital domain. Therefore, Odokwo recommends the following: (1) strengthening of legislations through cooperation with WIPO and other related organisations to build capacity to conform with international best practices; (2) Upgrading of infrastructure to boost enforcement activities in the digital environment; (3) Building collaborative linkages to effectively regulate the activities of service providers in the digital environment; (4) Group enforcement initiatives (special anti piracy squads eg. UK, South Korea, Malaysia). Developing countries can partner with other countries in this regard; (5) Group litigation against online infringers eg (the NAPSTER case in the USA); (6) Partnering with advertising agencies, to refrain from placing adverts on unlicensed services (study showed advert revenue in infringing websites for 2013 totalled US 227 million); and (6) Working with payment solution providers to withdraw online payment platforms from unlicensed services.
Eteldilaide da Graça from Sao Tome and Principe presented a paper on “Copyright in Sao Tome and Principe”. As many may know, Sao Tome and Principe is made up of two islands are located in the Gulf of Guinea, about 300 kilometers off the coast of Gabon, just north of the equator with a combined population of less than 200,000 people. Copyright is administered by the industrial property office SENAPI following an agreement with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. SENAPI is currently preparing the Copyright Code. After approval, promulgation and publication of this law, the Saotomean government will ensure that this law is fully implemented.
Neermala Luckeenarain from Mauritius spoke on: “Status of Copyright and Related Rights in the Republic of Mauritius”. Luckeenarain explained that copyright is administered by the Ministry of Arts and Culture and that the law has been reviewed and amended three times with the latest amendment being made in 2014. Luckeenarain explains that the new Mauritius Copyright Act of 2014 was aimed at giving opportunities to artists, creators and performers to sustain a decent livelihood, keeping pace with the use of technology by consumers, fighting piracy in order to boost creativity, meeting the exigencies of international organisations and treaties, e.g. Beijing Treaty, Marrakesh Treaty, etc. thereby discharging the country’s bilateral and international obligations. It is important to note that the new Act creates a new CMO called Rights Management Society (RMS). RMS is regulated by the Ministry of Arts and Culture and receives an annual grant of Rs 1,045,000. The accounts of RMS are audited by the National Audit Office and are tabled in Parliament. It is interesting to note that section 45 of the new Act provides that RMS shall inter alia negotiate with any user of a work the amount of equitable remuneration where the right to such remuneration is administered by the Society.