Kenya Digital Reading Summit 2015: Digital Rights in Book Publishing – Revisiting Authors Agreements

print book versus electronic book a visual overview zoe sadokierski

“In Kenya, the publishing industry is estimated to be about 12 billion Kenyan shillings a year (US $150 million) but 95% of that comes from the sales of textbooks. The sales of trade books has not been growing that quickly, I am afraid, but we are trying to change that. And bookstore sales are down as well. But as a small publisher, we have to respond to the market.” – Publishing Perspectives Interview with David Waweru, CEO of WordAlive Publishers on January 11, 2013.

“Our publishers—a good number of who are plain dishonest and shady individuals—are obsessed with publishing for the school market. They fight tooth and nail to have their books accepted as approved school texts. That is not a good thing at all because incidents of bribery have been reported in the process, which ends up putting dubious books in students’ hands. Outside of this there hasn’t really been a vibrant market for fiction. As a result writers have been bending over backwards to produce work that can fit in this mould. This in my thinking, isn’t healthy. Writers, as social commentators and critics, need the space to think creatively without inhibition. Some authors try to break out of this straight-jacket by self-publishing, but usually they don’t go far. Soon they encounter the biggest pest in the business, the book pirate, who is vicious in Kenya and operates with impunity, earning from what he didn’t sow in—we suspect—collusion with the law enforcers.” – Africa39 Blog Interview with Kenyan author, Stanley Gazemba on August 11, 2014.

“I love reading much more than I love writing. I suspect if I did not like reading, I would not be a writer. The well-written books inspire me to be a better writer. The badly written books teach me how not to write. Kenyan publishers are, sadly, not doing much to ensure that other readers and I get more of the former and less of the latter. Their inability to respond to submissions timeously; poor editing; unfavourable contracts; and poor marketing are but some of the problems beleaguering the publishing industry.” – Daily Nation, January 10, 2015: “Problem with Kenyan publishers” by Zukiswa Wanner.

Editor’s Note: The Digital Reading Summit 2015 themed “Immerse Yourself in the Digital Era”, has been organised by the Kenya Publishers Association (KPA) and Worldreader and is scheduled to be held between 21-22 April 2015 at Pride Inn Hotel in Nairobi. The following day, April 23rd, is World Book and Copyright Day!

The business of publishing rests on a contract between creators (authors) and those who invest in bringing their work to market – publishers. In many jurisdictions (including Kenya) it is necessary that the contract adopt a written form and this is also the advisable way to proceed even where verbal agreements are valid. To avoid misunderstandings a written contract should always be issued at the conclusion of discussions and verbal agreement between the parties.

In the contract with the publisher the author licenses the rights of reproduction and distribution over a work, thus providing the publisher with the legal means necessary for publication. In Kenya, section 33(3) of the Copyright Act requires that any exclusive license between an author and a publisher must be in writing. An important Kenyan case in the area of book publishing and copyright law is Njeri Wangari & Another v. Oxford University Press (E.A) Ltd. [2012] eKLR discussed previously here.

Traditionally, publishers asked mainly for the right to publish authors’ book, sometimes in multiple formats and languages. Now many publishers demand broader rights, often including electronic/digital rights.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Kenya’s Top IP Lawyers to Attend International Trademark Association INTA Annual Meeting

You’ve probably heard that next week, 9,000 professionals from around the world are expected to attend the International Trademark Association (INTA) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC from May 5 to 9 2012.

Some of the topics on the agenda include international trademark issues, including developments in international trademark laws, tactics for fighting global counterfeiting and effective strategies for domain management.

Here are the IP practitioners from Kenya that have confirmed their attendance (in alphabetical order):

> Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA) – represented by its CEO/Executive Director
> CFL – represented by 1 of its Partners
> Coulson Harney (CH) – represented by 1 of its Partners
> Hamilton, Harrison & Mathews (HH&M) – represented by 1 of its Partners
> Iseme, Kamau & Maema (IKM) – represented by 1 of its Partners
> Kaplan & Stratton – represented by 1 of its Partners
> Muriu Mungai & Company (MMC) – represented by 3 of its Partners

IPKenya has noted an interesting item on the INTA Meeting Program scheduled for Wednesday 9th May:

RW01 Regional Update: Africa
Intermediate Level

Panelists will discuss strategies and pitfalls for using an international system and the regional trademark registration systems in Africa, Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI) and African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) to protect your trademarks. Many African countries are members of the Madrid System. The panel will also cover current hot topics in Africa.

Moderator:

Marco Van de Merwe, Spoor & Fisher (South Africa)

Speakers:

Ephraim N. Ngwafor, Ngwafor & Partners (Cameroon)
Michael F. Sevant, Spoor & Fisher Jersey (Channel Islands)
Gift Sibanda, African Regional Industrial Property Organization (ARIPO) (Zimbabwe)

Although IPKenya will not be attending this formidable meeting of IP minds, it is hoped that the participants representing Kenya and the other African participants will truly put African Intellectual Property on the map during this Africa Session at INTA.

IPKenya trusts that Afro Leo (who most certainly will be in attendance) will blog about the issues, discussions and outcomes of this session and the INTA Annual Meeting as a whole.

For those who, like IPKenya, will not be attending INTA, you can follow the events via the INTA website (http://www.inta.org) or on twitter using the #INTADC hashtag.

Will Next Director General of ARIPO Be From Kenya?

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), through its official website, is inviting applications from suitable qualified candidates to be considered for appointment to the post of Director General of the Organization. The closing date for applications is 31 May 2012.

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization – ARIPO, formerly African Regional Industrial Property Organization, is an intergovernmental organization for cooperation among African states in patent and other industrial property matters. It has the capacity to hear applications for patents and registered trademarks in its member states who are parties to the Harare (patents) and Banjul (marks) protocols.

ARIPO’s 18 member states are mostly English-speaking countries.

Continue reading