Nollywood, Rejoice: Nigerian Copyright Reform Draft 2015 Bill Published

Nigerian-Copyright-Commission-NCC

In November 2012, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (‘the Commission’) formally launched the Reform of the Copyright System. The key objective of the reform was to re-position Nigeria’s creative industries for greater growth; strengthen their capacity to compete more effectively in the global marketplace, and also enable Nigeria to fully satisfy its obligations under the various International Copyright Instruments, which it has either ratified or indicated interest to ratify.

Since the formal launch of the Reform, the Commission has undertaken a number of activities, including review and comparative analysis and case studies of similar national reform efforts; stakeholders’ consultations; collation of commentaries; and analysis of stakeholder feedback.

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Intellectual Property Concerns in Kenya’s Draft National Culture Bill

HASSAN WARIO ARERO

On 27 August 2010, this blogger was among hundreds of Kenyans who witnessed the promulgation of Kenya’s Constitution. On numerous occasions here, we have discussed the far-reaching impact the 2010 Constitution has had on intellectual property laws in Kenya. For the first time in Kenya’s history, intellectual property (IP) norms were constitutionalised with corresponding obligations placed on various arms of the government to ensure that these constitutional provisions are actualised for the benefit of Kenyans.

One of these provisions is Article 11 which reads as follows:

Article 11 – Culture
(….)
11.(3) Parliament shall enact legislation to—
(a) ensure that communities receive compensation or royalties for the use of their cultures and cultural heritage; and
(b) recognise and protect the ownership of indigenous seeds and plant varieties, their genetic and diverse characteristics and their use by the communities of Kenya.

As a result of the above, Parliament is required to enact legislation to ensure that communities receive compensation or royalties for the use of their cultures and cultural heritage. This legislation should also address the recognition and protection of the ownership of indigenous seeds and plant varieties, their genetic and diverse characteristics and their use by the communities of Kenya.

In this connection, the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution requires that the legislation in respect to Culture under Article 11 must be enacted by Parliament within the first five years from the date of promulgation of the Constitution. Therefore the deadline for enactment is no later than August 27, 2015!

In a bid to meet or beat this deadline, the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts has begun the process of formulating a piece of legislation on Culture. The Ministry plans to hold a stakeholders’ workshop on January 30, 2015 at KICD to develop a Bill on Culture that will later be tabled before Parliament. In preparation for this planned workshop on formulation of the National Culture Bill, the Ministry has circulated a zero draft of the Bill available here. This draft is clearly ‘zero’ as it is largely incomplete except from a few provisions relating to a proposed National Council for Culture and the Arts and a National Fund for Culture and the Arts.

This blogger’s reading of Article 11(3) is that the legislation on Culture must address important concerns touching on the promotion and protection of traditional knowledge (TK), traditional cultural expressions, folklore as well as certain in situ genetic resources. In this regard, there may be considerable overlap between the proposed National Culture Bill and the 2013 Bill on the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions Bill, previously discussed here and here. In fact, the Premable of the proposed draft TK Bill reads: “This legislation will give effect to provisions of Article 11 and 40(5) of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.”

Another case of inter-ministerial mis-communication, per chance?

From an IP perspective, this blogger believes that an important question to be answered in the formulation of the Bill on Culture is whether to use the existing IP rights systems including industrial property, copyright and plant breeders rights or to develop a sui generis system for the promotion and protection of Culture.

QOTD: Do You Own the Rights to Artistic Works Purchased at the Maasai Market?

 

maasai-market-by-bulinya

The “Maasai market” (not represented here) is an open-air market where shoppers can find curios, paintings, drawings, clothes and fabrics with Kenyan prints, jewellery and wood-carvings, hand-made by local artisans. The venue for the Maasai Market rotates between different shopping centres and other locations within Nairobi. For tourists and locals alike, the prices at Maasai Market are very negotiable subject to one’s bargaining prowess and ability to haggle down to the last cent. No receipts are issued for purchases made at the Maasai Market nor should a purchaser expect any warranties or guarantees on items sold at the Maasai Market.

This leads us to our question of the day (QOTD) which is:

If someone buys a painting from an art gallery the Maasai market, do they simultaneously buy the copyright and all rights under that copyright? Can the artist subsequently make copies or postcards of the painting that he/she sold? Can the buyer make postcards of the painting and sell them?

From the explanations above, it is clear that all works sold at Maasai market are subject to copyright protection mainly under the category of artistic works. Further, it must be assumed that these artistic works are sold either by the authors themselves, authorised agents or representatives of the authors.

One possible answer to the QOTD would be in the affirmative on condition that the purchaser waits fifty years after the end of the year in which the author of the artistic work dies. In the event that the identity of the author is unknown (which may be the case with Maasai market works), the purchaser would have to wait 50 years from the end of the year in which the artistic work was first created/published.

However, this blogger submits that there is a better answer to the QOTD. In the context of a Maasai market purchase, it appears that that there is no clear assignment of copyright and exclusive license to carry out any of acts controlled by copyright, including reproduction, adaptation and making of derivative works i.e. post cards. This is because section 33(3) of the Copyright Act provides that such assignment of copyright and exclusive license must be in writing signed by or on behalf of the assignor or licensor of the Maasai market work, as the case may be.

Nonetheless, this blogger argues that the purchaser of a Maasai market work enjoys a non-exclusive license to do any act the doing of which is controlled by copyright. According to section 33(4) of the Act, this non-exclusive license need not be in writing and may be oral or inferred from conduct. The Act however provides that such non-exclusive license may be revocable at any time unless granted by contract.

Therefore, for any IP lawyer, the solution to the uncertainty in ownership of rights to Maasai market works may be resolved by simply having something in writing along the lines of:

“I,……the Author hereby irrevocably assigns, conveys and otherwise transfers to…… the Assignee, and its respective successors, licensees, and assigns, worldwide, all right, title and interest in and to the works, and all proprietary rights therein, including, without limitation, all copyrights, trademarks, patents, design rights, trade secret rights, economic rights, and all contract and licensing rights, and all claims and causes of action with respect to any of the foregoing, whether now known, or hereafter to become known.”

This may be food for thought next time you’re strolling past the Maasai market and something catches your eye.

Draft Bill Ready For Comments: The Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions Bill 2013

kenya tk bill 2013

This month was the unveiling of the Protection of Traditional Knowledge (TK) and Traditional Cultural Expressions (TCEs) Bill, 2013.

The draft Bill is available for download here.

This Bill was adopted by the participants at the National Validation Stakeholders Seminar and the Inter-Ministerial Committee responsible for drafting this Bill are now inviting comments and contributions from stakeholders and members of the public. Please send your comments to the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) at kenyacopyright@gmail.com on or before August 21,2013.

This blogger has looked through the draft Bill and will now make comments on the provisions sequentially.

Title of the Act

The word “protection” conjures up notions of protectionism and conservatism whereby Kenya seeks to jealously guard its TK, whereas it forms part of the common heritage of humanity. The word protection must go hand in hand with words like “promotion” especially in the context of TK and TCEs, since Kenya hopes that its communities will benefit from the exploitation of TK and TCEs by all.

Header

This legislation only gives effect to Article 11 of the Constitution and not Article 40(5). This position is reaffirmed by the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution which provides a time specification of five years from the promulgation date for the legislation in respect to Article 11(3) to be enacted by Parliament.

Definitions

Fundamentally, the definitions of TK and TCEs must be revisited. These definitions refer to both intangible and tangible TK & TCEs objects as protected subject matter.

The definition of appropriate authority appears to have been copy-pasted from an international instrument because of the use of the terms “authorised by the State” and “party to this Act”. It is proposed that the appropriate authority be defined any body or agency created under the Act.

It is proposed that the term “Act” be defined to include the Act itself and any regulations issued by the Cabinet Secretary under it from time to time.

It is noted that the Bill does not provide definitions for “owner”, “holder” which are used interchangeably throughout the Bill. The definition of “beneficiary” is also missing.

It is proposed that the terms: traditional knowledge rights and rights in traditional cultural expressions be defined in respect to the subject matter of protection namely, TK and TCEs respectively.

It is proposed that the term “holder” be included and defined as holder of traditional knowledge rights and rights in traditional cultural expressions. Further, the definition of “owner” would be the communuty representative or proxy delegated by the community to hold the latter’s rights in TK and TCEs. The definition of community could thus remain unchanged

The terms artistic works, cultural creativity, intangible cultural heritage, traditional cultural rights are all superflous and it is proposed that they are deleted.

National Competent Authority

This name totally lacks a descriptive character. The name becomes even more problematic because the national competent authority in the Bill is defined as the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) – whose name is even further removed from the theme of TK and TCEs. It follows that a descriptive name like the National Commission for (Protection of) TK and TCEs would be more fitting.

More fundamentally, issues may be raised about whether KECOBO is fit to be the national competent authority under this Bill. As we know KECOBO is created under the Copyright Act of 2001 and therefore it is not advisable for it to have statutory functions and mandates emanating from a different piece of legislation.

The Bill also creates the National Cultural Agency which is considered to be the implementer of the Bill. However questions may be raised over the need to have two separate government bodies carrying out more or less the same functions under the Bill.

Protection

Section 5 provides the conditions for protection of TK. However this section simply describes the various recognised origins of the protected TK but it fails to provide how TK is to be protected, especially where it is in an intangible or inchoate form.

Formalities

This section states that protection of TK shall not be subject to any formality. However subsections a) and b) appear to appoint KECOBO as “the Registrar of TK”, as it were by providing for registers and records of TK to be maintained and administered by KECOBO. There is therefore need to rethink this section.

More fundamentally, there is need to rethink the position that protection of TK shall not be subject to any formalities. Given the nature of TK, certain formalities may be necessary in order to clearly identify the traditional rights holders while notifying the rest of the world that the TK is both “owned” and “protected”.

Rights conferred to holders of TK

The Bill proposes that rights conferred to TK owners shall depend on whether the TK is a product or a process. For most, this typology appears to have been borrowed from section 54 of Industrial Property Act, 2001. There is need to revisit this provision given that the problematic definition of TK provided by the Bill which includes both tangible and intangible subject-matter.

Traditional Cultural Expressions

This Part VI lists a number of uses of TK or TCEs that would require the prior and informed consent on the traditional owners. However, the sticking point for some remains the issue of tangible vs intangible subject matter. For instance the Bill’s first restriction states “to reproduce the TK or TCEs”. One wonders whether how reproduction of an intangible subject-matter can be proved.

Exceptions and Limitations

This section borrows heavily from the ‘fair dealing’ provisions in section 26 of the Copyright Act, 2001. However this appears to be a closed list that excludes several other important exceptions including public interest. Ideally this list should be general in nature and allow for other exceptions that may arise from time to time.

Moral Rights

Under copyright law, moral rights protect an author’s non-economic interests. In the context of TK and TCEs, moral rights appear to be able to meet some of the needs of holders of TK and TCEs. However the rights to paternity, attribution and integrity all depart from the premise that the subject matter under protection is tangible!

Duration of Protection

This section creates an important distinction between situations where the duration of protection is indefinite and where it is time-bound. However there is a flaw in the criteria for the distinction. The first section seems to relate to collectively owned TK however the protection criteria under section 5 refers to both individually or collectively held TK under 5(2)(d).

In conclusion, this blogger applauds the Inter-Ministerial Committee for coming up with this draft Bill. However, there are some fundamental flaws in the document that must be addressed in order to ensure consistency and practicability. It is contended that intangible TK and TCEs must be protected retrospectively once they are reduced to a material form by or on behalf of the originating traditional community on condition that the latter is recognised by the State as the originating community. The definitional issues in the draft bill would be dealt with once the subject matter of protection for TK and TCEs is both tangibly identifiable and the rights flowing from this protected subject-matter is clearly delineated.

The Bill also fails to recognise the new system of devolution which many have argued would be an important catalyst in Kenya’s efforts to identify, promote and protect TK and TCEs throughout the 47 Counties.

EVENT: Unveiling of Proposed Law on Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions in Kenya

On Wednesday 8th May 2013, the Honourable Attorney General Prof. Githu Muigai will officiate the National Stakeholders’ Validation Seminar on the proposed legal framework on Protection of Traditional Knowledge (TK) and Traditional Culture Expressions (TCEs) at the Red Court Hotel, South C, Nairobi from 9:00am to 12:00noon. The legal framework aims to protect holders of TK and TCEs against misappropriation, misuse and unlawful exploitation by third parties for use in pharmaceutical products, therapy, arts and craft, music, design and even works of architecture.

This is a historic achievement for Kenya because it is the first country in the region and Africa, to develop a draft legal framework to validate legislation to protect TK and TCEs. It is also pursuant to Section 11, 40(5) and 69 of the Constitution of Kenya, which requires the State to protect the intellectual property rights of Kenya which includes TK and TCEs. The Kenya Copyright Board recognises that the protection of TK and TCEs is in tandem with Kenya’s “Vision 2030” blue print that aims to move our country to a middle income economy by the year 2030 through wealth creation, increased trade and national development.

Alongside KeCoBo and KIPI, there will be representatives from National Council for Science and Technology (NCST), National Museums of Kenya, State Law Office, ARIPO and WIPO.

Below is the program for the day:

SESSION 1:

0800-0830

Arrival
Registration
Prayer – Dr. Benson Mburu (NCST)

Master of Ceremony/Moderator : Dr. Evans Taracha (National Museums of Kenya)

09:10-09:20

Welcome Remarks:
by Chairman Kenya Copyright Board Mr. Tom Mshindi

Introduction:
by Executive Director KECOBO Dr Marisella Ouma, PhD

09:20-09:30

Overview and Objectives:
by Chairperson Inter-ministerial Expert Working Group, Mrs. Catherine Bunyassi Kahuria

09:30-09:45

Africa Position:
by ARIPO representative from TK Division

09:35-10:00

Opportunities for improvement:
by WIPO representative from TK division

10:00-10:30

Keynote address:
The Hon Attorney General Prof. Githu Muigai

10:30-11:00

Group Photo + Tea Break

SESSION 2:

11:00-11:15

Master of Ceremony/Moderator : Dr. Benson Mburu (NCST)

Presentation of the Draft Bill on Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions, 2013 – Key Highlights:
by KIPI, Mr. Stanely Atsali

11:15-01:00

Thematic Groups/Plenary Discussion/Q&A

01:00–02:00

Lunch

02:00-03:00

Group Discussion

03:00-04:00

Group reports and Recommendations

04:20-04:35

Tea Break

04:35 – 05:00

Closing Ceremony and Vote of Thanks

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To RSVP, contact KECOBO at info@copyright.go.ke