Image Rights, Privacy and Related Rights in the Workplace: High Court Case of Sikuku v. Uganda Baati

Circled: Sikuku, maybe.

Circled: Sikuku, maybe.

“The persons who created and did the video shooting or who employed the person who carried out the work of shooting the photos and video is/are the authors or author of the works. The exact relationship between an author and a person having neighbouring rights has to be clear and not hazy. A photographer who films activity in a market might not require permission of everybody in the market to publish or use the works.” – Madrama J. at page 15.

This blogger has come across a recent High Court decision of Sikuku v. Uganda Baati HCCS No. 0298 of 2012 before the very able Honourable Justice Mr. Christopher Madrama, whose decisions we have previously discussed here and here. A copy of the present judgment is available here. Sikuku, a long-time employee of Uganda Baati claimed that the latter was unfairly benefiting from the use of his images in Uganda Baati advertisements presented in both photographic and audio-visual forms to the public. Sikuku sought an order for the payment of Uganda shillings 150,000,000/= as “usage fees” from Uganda Baati. Sikuku contended that his employer had infringed his rights under the Uganda Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act as well as the Constitution of Uganda. The court dismissed Sikuku’s entire case against Uganda Baati. The learned Madrama J. found that Sikuku does not qualify to have neighbouring rights as protected by the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act 2006. Further, the court found that Sikuku has not proved unlawful interference with his constitutional right of privacy under article 27 by Uganda Baati.

This blogpost discusses the Uganda High Court’s treatment of the intersecting issues of image/privacy rights, and neighbouring rights as they arose in the Sikuku case. Ultimately, this blogpost finds that this case is instructive for participants both behind and infront of the camera lens.

It is not disputed that Sikuku appears in photos used in Uganda Baati’s in-house SAFAL magazine and the Contractors Year Planner. It is also not disputed that Sikuku appears on audiovisual adverts commissioned by Uganda Baati which were broadcast on several television stations including WBS and NTV. However the court had to determine whether or not these “appearances” amounted to “performances” as defined in copyright law and by extension, whether Sikuku fell within the definition of a “performer”.

A “performer” under section 2 of the Uganda Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act is defined to include an:

“actor or actress, singer, musician, dancer or other person who act, sing, deliver, declaim, play in, interpret, or otherwise perform literary or artistic works or expressions of folklore.”

Madrama J. in his judgment states that Sikuku cannot be a “performer” under the Act. His reasoning is thus:-

“The evidence demonstrates that the Plaintiff [Sikuku] was going about his business when he was filmed and photographed. He was not required to pose for the photograph or for the filming though they had been given new uniforms for the occasion. He was filmed and photographed in the ordinary course of his performance as a worker. (…) From the definition under the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act the Plaintiff is not an actor because he was filmed and photographed in the ordinary course of his work as an Employee of the Defendant. (…) the Plaintiff is not a performer whose action was deliberate so as to be a necessary ingredient of the works complained about and which ought to be paid in terms of performance fees (…) It is debatable whether the advertisement prominently portrays the Plaintiff’s photo or actually displays the Defendant’s products together and incidentally with the workers engaged in the work of production of the products using the machinery. The plaintiff is not at all the major or main feature of the advertisement. (…) The Plaintiff is not an artist and he was not bringing special skills so as to properly present the Defendant’s products. He was merely going about his business when he was filmed.”

On this point, this blogger concurs with the judge’s careful consideration of the definition of “performer”. Sikuku’s role in the audio-visual work cannot be likened to that of an extra in a movie or other production. While it is clear that Sikuku may fall within the category of “other person who acts, sings, delivers, declaims, plays in, interprets, or otherwise performs”, the missing part appears to be the subject matter of the “performance”. In the case of an extra, there is a script and an assigned role given to each “performer” such as “workman #1 operating heavy machine”, which would appear in the movie credits at the end of the movie.

On the issue of image/privacy rights, the court provides a useful analysis of the privacy clause in the Constitution of Uganda, which closely mirrors the privacy article in Kenya. In finding that there was no infringement of privacy rights, the court correctly reasoned as follows:-

“The court should consider whether photos of Employees taken in the course of their employment showing them at work cannot be used by the Employer for purposes of advertisement without consent or payment of consideration. The plaintiff should demonstrate that the filming or photo was taken in a private moment such us when eating or resting. Such a conclusion should be based on the terms of the contract. In the absence of the terms of any contract excluding an Employer from publishing photos and audio visual works of products including members of staff in a factory carrying out their work, the Plaintiff has no case presented before the court. As far as the rights to privacy is concerned, someone who works in a factory as contained in exhibit P1 and P2 cannot claim a right to privacy. The factory is owned by the Defendant and the Defendant can bring in people at any time to inspect the factory thereby excluding the rights to privacy.”

Kenya Set to Earn Millions in Individual Fees from WIPO Madrid System

Kenya Madrid Declaration 2014

Beginning June 12, 2014, Kenya became entitled to receive individual fees from the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) through its international registration system for trade marks known as the Madrid System. This is as a result of Kenya’s Declaration (pictured above) in which it notified WIPO of its intention to receive specific fees known as ‘individual fees’ from applicants designating Kenya in Madrid system applications. This blogpost looks at this new development in the administration of trade marks and its impact for local and foreign trade mark practitioners.

Kenya joined the Madrid System in the year 1998. Since 1998, both trade mark practitioners and administrators have voiced their complaints about Madrid. For practitioners, the bone of contention has remained the fact that Kenyan trade mark agents are losing clients who would ordinarily be required to file applications through the agents. For administrators, the central complaint was that Kenya was making losses with regard to fees. This is because the fees that a member state earns under the Madrid System are lower than the fees that a member state would ordinarily earn under the national fees schedule.

As many may know, the formula for distribution of the supplementary and complementary fees for each designated country is provided for under Article 8 (5) and (6) of the Agreement and Article 8 (5) and (6) of the Protocol as well as Rule 37 of the Common Regulations under the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks and the Protocol Relating to that Agreement. In the case of Kenya, KIPI has been earning approximately 20 Million Shillings (Kshs. 20,000,000/=) annually from WIPO through the Madrid system.

In 2013, the management of Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) decided that in accordance with Article 8(7)(a) of the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks, a declaration should be made to have Kenya receive individual fees. The decision was forwarded to the KIPI Board of Directors and upon approval, the matter was forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade through the Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development for submission to WIPO.

While we do not know exactly how much Kenya stands to gain from individual fees, it is hoped that the fees will be much higher than the Kshs. 20,000,000/ received before the declaration was made.

From a local trade mark practitioner’s perspective, the declaration does not affect applications made under Madrid System. This is because the practitioners making such applications would be representing Kenyan residents who according to the Madrid Agreement require a basic registration of the respective mark in Kenya and according to the Madrid Protocol require a basic application for registration of the respective mark in Kenya. This means that the fees payable would be equivalent to the individual fees that would be payable under the new system, apart from the publication fees which the declaration did not include.

The effect on foreign trade mark practitioners making applications designating Kenya under Madrid System is that they would need to advise their clients on the new fees as indicated in the declaration. In accordance with the provisions of Article 8 (7) (a) of the Protocol, the fees indicated in the declaration are identical to the fees payable under the Trade Mark Rules for Kenyan non-residents. The declaration states as follows:

Designation of KENYA (in an international application or subsequent designation)

– for one class of goods or services $350 (three hundred and fifty)
– for each additional class $250 (two hundred and fifty)

Where the mark is a collective or certification mark

– as above

Renewal of an international registration containing a designation of KENYA:

– for one class of goods or services $200 (two hundred)
– for each additional class $150 (one hundred and fifty)

Where the mark is a collective or certification mark

– as above

WIPO Plan for the Next Six Years: Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Rights of Broadcasting Organisations

Dr. Marisella Ouma of Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) at WIPO. KECOBO is the lead state agency on protection of broadcasting organisations and  traditional knowledge at domestic and international levels.

Dr. Marisella Ouma of Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) at WIPO. KECOBO is the lead state agency on protection of broadcasting organisations and traditional knowledge at domestic and international levels.

Earlier this month, Dr. Francis Gurry gave his acceptance speech following his successful re-election as World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Director General. In this speech, Gurry outlined clearly the focus of his second term. His speech stated in part:

I believe that the successful conclusion of the Beijing and Marrakesh Treaties shows us that it is easier to reach a shared understanding on specific issues, where there is a demonstrable and manageable need for international action, than to achieve a shared understanding across the whole range of intellectual property, which now underlies most economic and cultural activities. As we go forward on such specific issues, it will be important that the agenda address the interests of all sides of the multilateral equation. This means that the Organization must be able to address both the high end and the low end of technology. In concrete terms, for example, the Organization must achieve successful outcomes both on broadcasting and on traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and genetic resources.

Read the full article here.

High Court Orders Government to Facilitate Copyright Tribunal in PERAK Case against KAMP and PRiSK

pub kenya perak

In a judgment delivered recently, the High Court in the case of Republic v Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP) & 3 others Ex- Parte Pubs, Entertainment and Restaurants Association of Kenya (PERAK) [2014] eKLR has ordered the State to set up the Competent Authority established under the Copyright Act to hear and determine the dispute between PERAK and the related rights collective management organisations KAMP and PRiSK with respect to the latter’s tariffs for communication to the public.

As many may know, the Pubs, Entertainment and Restaurants Association of Kenya (PERAK) is the largest single entity representing owners and managers of the major restaurants, pubs and entertainment venues in Kenya. PERAK is registered under the Societies Act as a welfare Organization and its main objective is to bring together operators with a view of resolving common problems in the hospitality industry, developing a code of conduct for its members, engage in social responsibility activities and generally to help members comply with various regulations governing the hospitality industry.

The gist of the PERAK’s judicial review action is summarised in the following three orders which were sought from the court, namely:-

“1. That this Honourable Court be pleased to grant an order of prohibition to prohibit the 1st and 2nd Respondents from arbitrarily imposing and collecting high tariffs/license fees and other levies from the Applicant’s members’ business premises using a wrong tariff structure and generally harassing, intimidating and confiscating their business equipment throughout the Republic of Kenya.
2. That this Honourable Court be pleased to grant an order of mandamus compelling and directing the 3rd and 4th Respondents to hear and determine the dispute between the Applicant and the 1st and 2nd Respondents in relation to the high license fees charged and /or tariffs charged/levied using a wrong tariff structure by the 1st and 2nd Respondents.
3. The costs of this Application be provided for.”

In the court’s judgment, PERAK succeeded to prove that it had locus standi to institute proceedings on behalf of its members in addition to order no. 2. However PERAK was unsuccessful on order no. 1. With respect to order no. 3, the court declined to make any order as to costs.

Comment:

This blogger is surprised by PERAK’s poor form in mounting its judicial review suit against KAMP and PRiSK. This was clearly manifest from several unsubstantiated allegations, inaccurate and outrightly false statements of the provisions of the law by PERAK.

The most significance of this judgment can be found in the last four paragraghs where the court examines whether the government can and should be compelled to give effect to section 48 of the Copyright Act. On numerous occasions (see some examples here, here, here and here) this blogger has emphasised the need for Kenya to immediately operationalise the Competent Authority aka the Copyright Tribunal which is established under the Copyright Act to hear and determine disputes between users and CMOs.

Therefore this blogger is elated that the High Court has seized the opportunity to state clearly that the Government, in particular the Office of the Attorney General and Department of Justice can no longer rely on the same old excuses as reasons for not facilitating the operations of the Competent Authority.

To quote the court:

“The only reason advanced by the Kenya Copyright Board why the Competent Authority cannot fulfil its said statutory duty is that the Competent Authority is yet to be operationalized owing to budgetary and administrative challenges and hence the same is not functional. Article 47(1) of the Constitution provides that every person has the right to administrative action that is expeditious, efficient, lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair. Article 21(1) of the Constitution on the other hand provides that it is a fundamental duty of the State and every State organ to observe, respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights and fundamental freedoms in the Bill of Rights. It is therefore upon the State to facilitate the Competent Authority so that it can undertake its statutory duties. To fail to do so amounts to abdication of the Constitutional duties imposed upon the State and in applying a provision of the Bill of Rights this Court is enjoined by Article 20(3)(b) of the Constitution to adopt the interpretation that most favours the enforcement of a right or fundamental freedom.
Adopting the said approach, this Court is not satisfied that the reason advanced by the Kenya Copyright Board warrants the state being absolved from the performance of its statutory duties taking into account the fact that the Competent Authority is already in the office.”

The ball is therefore squarely in the government’s court to operationalise the Competent Authority failing with PERAK will be at liberty to return to court for contempt orders against the Kenya Copyright Board.

Strathmore to Host World Intellectual Property Day 2014 Events in Kenya

world ip day 2014 poster

Strathmore University’s Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law (CIPIT) has been at the centre of Kenya’s preparations for this year’s World Intellectual Property (WIP) Day celebrations on 26th April 2014. This blogger has previously discussed here the significance of this year’s WIP Day for Kenya. The programme for the day is available here. The celebrations will run from 8.30 a.m to 5.00 p.m and will involve three concurrent events, namely the IP Pavilion, the IP Workshop and the IP Moot Competition. To top it off, there will be a public screening of the award-winning film, “The Prestige”.

The IP Pavilion will be a tented area for exhibitors to carry out public outreach. Attendees of the WIP Day events will have time to visit The Pavilion and meet the various exhibitors.

The IP Workshop will delve into the theme of WIP Day 2014, which is “Movies – A Global Passion.” Speakers will include representatives from the Kenya Copyright Board, Department of Film Services, Kenya Film Commission, Kenya Film Classifications Board, Kenya Film & Television Professionals Association, and experienced Intellectual Property Lawyers in the creative industry.
Venue: Main Auditorium.
Tentative program:
9.45 – 10.45 am: Intellectual Property Rights in Film
10.45 – 11.00 am: Presentation on Copyright and Film Industry
11.30 – 1.00 pm: Discussion Forum on the Dissection of the Film Industry in Kenya

The IP Moot Competition will provide a platform for exposing law students to Intellectual Property Rights, and is the first of its kind anywhere in Kenya. The IP Moot Competition questions and rules are available here.
CIPIT has registered 18 teams from 9 law schools. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Kenya will be closing the event and handing out prizes.
Venue: morning activities to be in assigned classrooms, afternoon activities in Main Auditorium.
Tentative program:
9.45 – 1.00 pm: Initial Round
1.00 – 2.00 pm: Lunch
2.00 – 3.15 pm: Semi-final Round
3.30 – 4.30 pm: Final Round
4.30 – 5.00 pm: Closing and Presentation of Prizes

CIPIT is confident that there will be a good turnout for the WIP Day events, including media coverage, participation by Kenya’s two national IP offices, KIPI and KECOBO, as well as a visit from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Kenya.

This blogger salutes CIPIT, IP Checkin, Kikao IP and the entire organizing committee and looks forward to a memorable WIP Day 2014.

Why Private Copying Law and Practice in Kenya is Unconstitutional

50 bob movies by wamathai dot com

Private copying can be defined as the act of making any copy for non-commercial purposes by a natural person for his/her own use. Kenya’s Copyright Act defines it as the making of a single copy for the personal and private use of the person making the copy. Although the right of reproduction under copyright law is exclusive, Kenya is among many jurisdictions worldwide that limit the application of the reproduction right to activities that can be qualified as private copying, the reasoning being that it is practically impossible to grant permission to large numbers of individuals, or to monitor the use consequently made of it. It follows that private copying is allowed under the condition that a fair compensation is paid to the authors and other rights holders for loss of revenues or harm caused to the rights holder whose work had been copied. Private copying levy (or the audio blank tape levy as it known in Kenya) is currently the only efficient mechanism which allows creators to be compensated for widespread copying of their works for private/domestic use. It therefore follows that the blank tape levy would be applicable to blank CDs, tapes, cassettes, DVDs, VCDs, USB Disks, MiniDiscs, Memory Cards, Mobile Phones among others. It is yet to be operationalised in Kenya despite being provided for under section 28(3),(4),(5) and (6) of the Copyright Act.

In December 2013, this blogger discussed here that one of the proposed amendments to the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2013 related to the provisions of audio blank tape levying provided under Section 28(5) of the Copyright Act. The effect of this proposed amendment was that the blank tape levy be collected by KECOBO and then distributed to the registered CMO representing the owners of sound recordings, currently known as the Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP). However, this blogger argues that this section 28 (in both its current and proposed form) is unconstitutional and ought to be fundamentally amended so as to address the economic rights of all rights holders.

The WIPO International Survey on Private Copying Law and Practice 2012 explains that where private copying remunerations are gathered by collective management organisations (CMOs), these societies are appointed by the government or by rights holders. According to the Survey, these CMOs must be representative of each variety of rights holders namely the authors, performing artists and producers. In some jurisdictions, a distinct CMO exists dealing solely with private copying levy and the board of such a CMO is comprised of the various rights holders’ representatives.

From all the 30 countries selected for the Survey, it is clear that there are two main categories of rights holders who benefit from the royalties collected for private copying: copyright holders and the related rights holders. The copyright holders appear to take the lion’s share of the collections with countries like Switzerland and Canada recording an authors’ share of 58%. All in all, the share for copyright holders appears never to be less than 30%.

Meanwhile, back in Kenya, the related rights CMO representing sound producers (KAMP) has recently published a public notice on it’s official website which reads in part:-

“The Kenya Association of Music Producers and Performers Rights Society of Kenya Stakeholders Meeting on Blank Media Levy concluded by setting an unopposed tariff of 6% of import price at the point of sale on the aforementioned equipment. KAMP and PRISK by virtue of Sections 28 (5) and 30 (8) will commence collections May of 2014.”

According to section 28(4) of the Act, the royalty payable for private copying can only be set in one of two ways: through agreement with stakeholders or by the (non-existent) competent authority. The question which therefore must be asked is which one of the two ways was used and what was the rationale behind the percentage figure of 6% purportedly agreed upon pursuant to the Act.

Assuming that the conditions of section 28(4) of the Act have been met, it would follow that the audio blank tape levy would only be applicable to KAMP and not PRiSK. This is because the section refers only to audio recording equipment and audio blank tape and not video. In addition, according to the WIPO Survey, the only jurisdiction with a tariff of 6% (of the import price) is Lithuania and this tariff covers both copyright and related rights holders, as illustrated in the table above.

However there is a fundamental question which remains unanswered, namely: is the current private copying levy provision under section 28 constitutional? The blogger argues that the answer must be no. In all the countries studied in the WIPO Survey above, copyright holders were allocated a substantial share of collections from the respective private copying levies. However, the Kenyan Act only refers to owners of sound recording. It is therefore possible to argue that section 28(3),(4),(5) and (6) are unconstitutional for two cardinal reasons, namely the discrimination of rights holders contrary to Article 27 of the Constitution and the deprivation of property contrary to Article 40 of the Constitution.

Intellectual Property and Anti-Homosexuality Law Collide: The Case of David Robinson vs. Red Pepper Uganda

red pepper uganda top homosexuals named

In a recent article in the New York Times here, it is alleged that Ugandan tabloid newspaper Red Pepper infringed the copyright of Denver David Robinson, the photographer behind the photographic project titled: “We Are Here: LGBTI in Uganda” which was published by The Advocate, an American L.G.B.T. magazine here.

From an intellectual property (IP) perspective, this blogger aims to discuss Robinson’s claim against Red Pepper and the extent to which the provisions of fair use under Ugandan copyright law would be applicable. In addition, this blogger will also consider the moral rights issues that may arise in this case.

Read the full article here.