3, 2, 1: Action as Film Regulation Moves to ICT Ministry

Rafiki Movie Kenya Image Twitter Dc6K6pSW4AEDmmr

Last month, the President signed Executive Order No. 1 of 2018 on the Organisation of Government which, inter alia, assigned functions and institutions among Ministries and State Departments. One interesting new change in the structure of the Government is that Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) and Kenya Film Commission (KFC) are now listed under the State Department for Broadcasting and Telecommunications in the ICT Ministry. In addition the Ministry’s functions now includes overall responsibility for policies on film development in Kenya and the development of the country’s film industry.

This may all seem like a mundane bureaucratic detail but in reality it may well represent a fundamental shift in Kenya’s approach to the development of the creative economy and the important contribution of the film industry. But like every good story, there is a plot twist: the only thing that KFCB and KFC seem to agree on is that they are better off separate than together. Lately, the two lead film agencies have been at loggerheads (see video clips here and here) over how best the film industry should be regulated for the development of this vital pillar of the creative and cultural industries.

Continue reading

#ipkenya Weekly Dozen: 29/06

First Volkswagen Assembled in Rwanda June 2018 DgsNALgXcAAGlJ_

  • The Continental Free Trade Area: A game changer for Africa [The East African]
  • Crunch Time at WIPO-IGC: A Last Attempt to Draft a New Genetic Resources Text? [ABS Canada]
  • Zimbabwe Launches National IP Policy & Implementation Strategy [AllThingsIP]
  • Ethiopia: Whose injera is it anyway? [Mail & Guardian]
  • Strengthening African Science [Project Syndicate]
  • South Africa: Marked improvements on the IP landscape [Lexology]
  • Google is throwing its weight behind artificial intelligence for Africa [Quartz]
  • Enabling intellectual property and innovation systems for South Africa’s development and competitiveness [Sibanda’s 2018 PhD Thesis]
  • Nigeria: Food Security In Africa: Is Genetically Modified Technology A Pathway? [Leadership]
  • Number of patents is a poor measure of innovation in ARIPO and Kenya [AfroIP]
  • Emojis and intellectual property law [WIPO Magazine]
  • Ten Years Later: Dismal Performance Scorecard for Kenya’s Anti-Counterfeit Agency [Captain Obvious]

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!

#ipkenya Weekly Dozen: 08/06

Senate Creative Industries DfEXLDVWsAA5-AJ

  • Kenya: Senate held a session with reps from the creative industries to understand how to support creativity and talent in the film industry [Web]
  • South Africa’s New IP Policy: A Human Rights Perspective [Emmanuel Oke]
  • Kenya has created an electronic registry for collateralisation of IP and other rights [The East African]
  • “I See a Boat on a River” – The Copying of Vehicular Shapes [Afro-IP]
  • Online platform to streamline collection of fees owed to Kenyan musicians [Capital FM]
  • Kenya: Artistes, hoteliers in pact to collect music royalties [Business Daily]
  • East Africa brand-owners take stake in protecting their brands [Captain Obvious]
  • Kenya: Curb book theft without killing firms [DN]
  • EA Cables cries for help over Chinese fakes [Nation]
  • Kenya: Chinese accused of cultural heist on indigenous cottage industries [Oh Boy]
  • Pay artistes’ royalties or lose licences, Sakaja warns media houses, night clubs [The Star]
  • Blockchain and IP Law: A Match made in Crypto Heaven? [WIPO Magazine]

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!

2018 Proposed Amendment to The Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions Act

TK and TCE Act Kenya Amendment Bill 2018

The Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2018 seeks to make various, wide-ranging amendments to the existing intellectual property (IP) law-related statutes. The Bill contains proposed amendments to the following pieces of legislation: The Industrial Property Act, 2001 (No. 3 of 2001), The Copyright Act, 2001 (No. 12 of 2001), The Anti-Counterfeit Act, 2008 (No. 13 of 2008) and The Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions Act, 2016 (No. 33 of 2016). The Memorandum of Objects and Reasons for the Bill is signed by Hon. Aden Duale, Leader of Majority in the National Assembly and it is dated 29 March 2018. This blogpost will focus on the proposed changes proposed to The Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions (TKCE) Act.

In our previous commentary on the TKCE Act (see here), we raised concerns about the lack of an implementation and enforcement framework thus terming the Act as an ‘orphan’ with no clear parent Ministry. Two years later, the 2018 Bill now proposes to amend section 2 of the TKCE to state that ‘the Cabinet Secretary for the time being responsible for matters relating to culture’ shall oversee the implementation and enforcement of the TKCE Act.

Continue reading

Kenya’s Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions Act No. 33 of 2016 Comes into Force

uhuru-kenyatta-president-pscu-signs-tk-tces-bill-august-2016-kenya-2

On 31 August 2016, President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured above) assented to the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions Bill, No.48 of 2015. The Bill was published in Kenya Gazette Supplement No. 154 on 7 September 2016 cited as the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions Act, No. 33 of 2016. The date of commencement of the Act is 21 September 2016, which means the Act is now in force. A copy of the Act is available here.

In previous blogposts here, we have tracked the development of this law aimed at creating an appropriate sui-generis mechanism for the protection of traditional knowledge (TK) and cultural expressions (CEs) which gives effect to Articles 11, 40 and 69(1) (c) of the Constitution. This blogpost provides an overview of the Act with special focus on the issues of concern raised previously with regard to the earlier Bill.

Continue reading

The Maasai Intellectual Property Initiative: Why Should Others Do Pro-Bono IP Work For Kenya?

AFRICA IP TRUST EVENT 2013 INVITE MAASAI IP INITIATIVE LIGHT YEARS IP

In a recent media report titled: “Maasai elders swap Kenya for Holborn Viaduct”, the global law firm Hogan Lovells has reportedly invited Maasai elders to the United Kingdom (UK) as part of its intellectual property (IP) pro bono work. As the report explains:

The firm has been doing intellectual property (IP) pro bono work, led by partner Sahira Khwaja, to try to secure a trademark for the tribe after the recognisable Maasai image has been used repeatedly used in advertising campaigns without any of the spoils making their way back to the tribe itself.
Lovells is working with Elders from the Maasai of Kenya and Tanzania through charity Light Years IP,  which helps developing country producers win ownership of their intellectual property – should they choose to.

Light Years IP is a non-profit organization dedicated to alleviating poverty by assisting developing country producers gain ownership of their intellectual property and to use the IP to increase their export income and improve the security of that income. The Maasai Intellectual Property Initiative (MIPI) was founded by Light Years IP who designed a 7 point plan and IP strategies for the Maasai to achieve control over their iconic brand.

According to Light Years IP CEO, Ron Layton:

…the Maasai people have not yet decided on trademark ownership or appointment of Hogan Lovells to carry out trademark work. The Maasai elders are visiting London to obtain information to assist their community make such decisions. Above all, Light Years IP seeks for respect to be shown to the Maasai. Hogan Lovells are assisting Light Years IP in a range of work.

Comment:

First off, this blogger is ashamed that Kenya’s leading IP firms would rather religiously ‘network’ at International Trademark Association (INTA) Annual Meetings than take up worthy pro-bono IP matters such as MIPI.

Read the rest of this article on the CIPIT Law Blog here.

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.