- Ethiopia: Gearing up the postal sector to drive development [UPU]
- Egypt: Mo Salah accuses Football Association of ignoring image rights [BBC]
- Ghana: ARIPO launches Masters in Intellectual Property at KNUST [Going Places]
- Nigeria: ‘White gold’ – GM cotton hope for troubled textile industry [GLP]
- South Africa: Collecting society SAMRO under fire over multi-million US Dollar Dubai investment [Apparently]
- Zimbabwe: ARIPO Magazine Vol.8 No.2 is out [Get Your Copy Here]
- Kenya: Struggle to modernise traditional medicine is far from won [The Star]
- Double Trademark Law Whammy this week over at Afro-IP [Afro Leo & Friends]
- ICYMI: This Blogger is Now A Member of the Copyright Tribunal [Shameless Plug]
- New Paper Looks At Differential Protection For TK, Folklore [IP-Watch]
- Creative Markets and Copyright in the Fourth Industrial Era: Reconfiguring the Public Benefit for a Digital Trade Economy [Okediji]
- 5th Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest [Register Here]
For more news stories and developments, please check out #ipkenya on twitter and feel free to share any other IP/ICT-related items that you may come across.
Have a great week-end!
- The Global Innovation Index (GII) 2018 to be released next week [You’re Invited]
- What the WTO decision on plain packaging means for developing countries [devex]
- Time for a bioeconomy in Africa [ICIPE]
- How fab labs help meet digital challenges in Africa [The Conversation]
- Lionel Messi: Image Rights, International Financial Flows, Tax Havens and its Impact on Africa and Kenya [Academia]
- Uganda’s Troubling Social Media Tax [HRW]
- Kenya’s Digital Taxi Services Paralyzed, Strike Enters 4th Day [VOA]
- Comment on South Africa’s Copyright Amendment Bill Until 18 July [PEN SA]
- On the 36th Session of the WIPO – IGC: An Interview with Professor Chidi Oguamanam [Flora IP]
- Ghana’s Copyright Administrator ordered to release funds to Audio-Visual Rights Society [GNA]
- Intellectual Property Issues in Access and Benefit-sharing Agreements [WIPO]
- Governance Issues of Nigerian Music Collecting Society, COSON Continues [Afro-IP]
For more news stories and developments, please check out #ipkenya on twitter and feel free to share any other intellectual property-related items that you may come across.
Have a great week-end!
In 2008, Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA) was birthed as Kenya’s TRIPS-plus experiment to spearhead intellectual property (IP) rights enforcement by coordinating efforts among various state agencies. In our humble opinion, ACA deserves no score higher than 3/10 for its performance in fulfilling its overall statutory mandate in Kenya.
It was envisioned that ACA would be a shining example of an inter-agency approach to IP rights enforcement with private sector coordination. Ten years later, it is safe to say that ACA has failed to live up to its potential. The reason? Two words: Institutional Corruption.
Question: What do the proposed amendments to the Copyright Act in 2017 and 2018 both have in common? Here’s a hint, it has to do with Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO). In 2017, the Copyright Amendment Bill proposed changes to the functions of the Board, composition of the Board and qualifications of the Executive Director whereas the recently tabled 2018 Bill proposes specific changes to KECOBO Board Membership. Arising from these two sets of proposals less than a year apart, there appears to be a growing call for the repeal or overhaul of the Copyright Act with specific concerns being raised about KECOBO’s Board structure, functions and role within the copyright and related rights system.
The raison d’etre of the collective administration or collective management system in copyright law is to bridge the gap between rights holders and users of copyright works. So, what happens when collecting societies, or as they are commonly called collective management organisations (CMOs), fail to carry out this core function and instead become poster children for corruption, mismanagement, lack of transparency, and abuse of power?
Back in 2013, Jonathan Band and Brandon Butler published an insightful article titled ‘Some Cautionary Tales About Collective Licensing’ which exposed the dark side of CMOs around the world. This blogger was pleased that some of our work in the context of CMOs in Kenya was featured in the article, specifically the on-going wrangles between Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) and literally everyone else including the copyright regulator, copyright owners, copyright users and even other Kenyan CMOs in the music industry.
Maurice Okoth, former MCSK CEO (left) with his lawyer at the High Court for the delivery of the judgment.
Recently, the High Court delivered its judgment in the case of Republic v. The Director of Public Prosecutions and 4 Others Ex Parte Shamilla Kiptoo and 2 Others HCMA 510 of 2015 (Consolidated) in which the court granted the orders of certiorari and prohibition sought by the Applicants namely Maurice Okoth, Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) former Chief Executive Officer (CEO), James Maweu Mutisya, former MCSK Board Director, Lillian Njoki Thuo, MCSK Management Accountant, Peter Kisala Enyenze, MCSK Regional Manager and Shamilla Kiptoo, Nasratech Limited Managing Director (and Okoth’s wife).
The order of Certiorari granted by the court quashes the decision, declaration and directive of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Directorate of Criminal Investigations (CID), Inspector General of Police (IG), Chief Magistrate’s Court and the Attorney General (collectively referred to as the Respondents) to prefer criminal charges against the Applicants based on the facts contained in the Charge Sheet dated 18th November 2015 in Criminal Case No. 1904 of 2015 – Republic v. Dan Maurice Mwande Okoth & 6 others. The order of Prohibition granted by the court directed to the Respondents prohibits the prosecution of the Applicants based on the facts contained in the Charge Sheet dated 18th November 2015 in Criminal Case No. 1904 of 2015 – Republic versus Dan Maurice Mwande Okoth & 6 others. Finally, the court ordered the costs of the application to be borne by the DPP, CID and IG.
On the eve of its 40th anniversary, the Harare-based African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) has recently published the findings of a survey on collective management organisations (CMOs) conducted among its member states. A copy of the survey is available here. In the foreword, ARIPO Director General Mr. Fernando Dos Santos explains that:
“The findings [of the survey] indicate that CMOs in the ARIPO Member States are growing in numbers. It was also found that there is growth in collections of royalties and distributions. However, CMOs are also facing challenges which include insufficient or lack of awareness of copyright laws by users and the general public, users’ unwillingness to pay royalties, piracy of the copyrighted works, inadequate resources and manpower within the CMOs and inadequate availability of technologies that can be used by the CMOs.”