“…the mere lack of a legal regime in our jurisdiction that address the question image rights cannot be taken to mean that persons who suffer wrongs cannot seek redress from courts of law when in actual fact they are aggrieved.” – Hon. Justice Peter Adonyo in Asege Winnie v. Opportunity Bank (U) Ltd & Anor  UGCOMMC 39
This blogger has come across a recent High Court judgment from Uganda in the case of Asege Winnie v. Opportunity Bank (U) Ltd & Anor  UGCOMMC 39 which sheds new light on the emerging topic of personality rights and protection of image rights, which is not catered for in a perfect “unified” legal system but rather in a combination of rights and causes of action under the Constitution, common law and various statutes on intellectual property, defamation and consumer protection.
Today’s Question of the Day (QOTD) is on the duration of copyright where the author of the copyright work is a juristic person.
Authorship is at the core of copyright law. It determines ownership of copyright in the first instance. It provides a defence to alleged infringement. Most importantly, authorship determines the duration of copyright.
Section 2(1) of the Copyright Act defines an “author” in relation to the various categories of copyright works as a “person”
Section 23(2) of the Act states that copyright lasts for 50 years after the death of the author. The duration of copyright is computed from the end of the year in which the author dies for literary, musical and artistic works excluding photographs. The length of copyright protection is measured by reference to the human author’s lifespan.
The cumulative effect of these two sections of the Act would be that the word “person” refers only to a natural person, since the length of copyright protection is measured by reference to the human lifespan.
However, the current practice and procedures for copyright registration in Kenya allow for both natural and juristic persons to be applicants as well as authors for the purposes of copyright registration. Where the application for registration of copyright is successful, the copyright registration certificate issued by the Kenya Copyright Board (KeCoBo) may be in the name of either an individual or a company.
The question then arises, how long does the copyright last where the author is a juristic person and not a natural person?
Given that a juristic person, unlike a natural person, enjoys perpetual succession, does this mean that copyright in works of corporate authorship exist in perpetuity never to expire?
Read the rest over at the CIPIT Law Blog here.