Recap of WIPO African Sub-Regional Workshop on New Perspectives on Copyright

WIPO African Sub regional Workshop New perspectives on copyright organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization in cooperation with the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization Harare Zimbabwe July 2015

This week, African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) hosted the WIPO African Sub-regional Workshop on New Perspectives on Copyright organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) from 20 – 21 July 2015.

The Workshop drew Heads of Copyright Offices in the ARIPO Member States and some Observer States who took part in this crucial Workshop aimed at discussing the management of Copyright and Related Rights in the face of new challenges emanating from new digital technologies. Also in attendance were copyright officials from Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago who shared their experiences with their African colleagues.

What follows is a summary of the presentations made by the various participants at the Workshop.

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Copyright Licensing Requires Salesmanship: Lessons from the Banned “Wolf of Wall Street”

The-Wolf-of-Wall-Street-KFCB-Facebook-page1

One of the most talked about stories in the month of January was the decision by the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) to ban the sale, exhibition and distribution of the critically acclaimed Hollywood film “The Wolf of Wall Street”.

KFCB claims that the film was “restricted” due to elements that include nudity, sex, alcohol, drugs and profanity found in almost every scene of the 3-hour long motion picture which chronicles the title character’s (Jordan Belfort’s) pursuit of the American Dream.

This blogger has watched the banned film and believes that it is a must-watch for all those involved in the sale/assignment and/or licensing of content. In particular, this blogger recommends several short clips from the movie where the lead character demonstrates the art and skill of making a sale.

In the above scene, Jordan Belfort is trying to turn a group of inexperienced, undisciplined misfits into Wall Street stock brokers. In order to illustrate to the basic fundamentals of making a sale, Belfort pulls out a pen and thrusts it in their faces, with the instruction: “Sell me this pen.” After one member of his team declines, another member of his team grabs the pen from him and states:

“Do me a favour and write your name on that piece of paper, there.”

When Belfort looks around for something to write with, the future salesman replies:

“Oh, you don’t have a pen anymore. Supply and demand, bro.”

This scene illustrates a fundamental point for all salespeople: Until a need is recognized, it simply doesn’t matter how great your product or service is. Therefore, there are essentially three parts to any sale: identifying the need, creating urgency and applying the need and urgency to the sale. In short, the role of the salesperson is to help the client reconnect with his/her needs and the urgency to act upon them.

In the case of content, the license is the most common sale because it allows users to enjoy certain rights in the content without transferring ownership in the content. In this connection, this blogger has in mind the four collective management organisations (CMOs) currently in operation within Kenya, namely the Reproduction Rights Society of Kenya (KOPIKEN)Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP), Performers’ Rights Society of Kenya (PRiSK) and Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK). Each of these CMOs is in the business of selling licenses to users throughout Kenya with respect to the rights holders in the various categories of works they control. From the CMOs’ perspective, the ends justify the means when it comes to licensing users of copyright works: an increase in licenses issued means an increase in royalties distributable to copyright owners. Therefore licensing staff employ various tactics to create awareness on copyright law while emphasising the need for them to take out licenses for commercial exploitation of copyright works.

A common challenge among the CMOs is increasing the number of licenses issued while at the same time reducing their administrative (operational) costs. One possible solution is tele-licensing whereby licensing staff spend the majority of their time on the phone with potential licensees countrywide. The trick behind tele-licensing is to persuade a commercial user that it requires a copyright license to continue or commence its operations and making arrangements with the user for the CMO to dispatch a licensing staff to deliver an invoice and collect the license payments.

Once again, Jordan Belfort illustrates how tele-licensing could be done in the clip below where he sells penny stocks worth $40,000 in a non-existent company.

In the Kenyan context, a higher degree of salesmanship may be required than that displayed by Belfort in the above clip due to the ignorance of copyright law among a large portion of potential content users. In fact, some licensing staff argue that in some cases, unless they physically visit business premises in the company of uniformed police officers, content users will not take out copyright licenses. However, this blogger argues that despite the low levels of awareness among copyright users, there is still an important need for sales training among the licensing staff of all the CMOs to ensure that they understand the content licenses they are selling and how to create the need and urgency among content users to take out the licenses.

 

In the Kenyan context, a higher degree of salesmanship may be required than that displayed by Belfort in the above clip due to the ignorance of copyright law among a large portion of potential content users. In fact, some licensing staff argue that in some cases, unless they physically visit business premises in the company of uniformed police officers, content users will not take out copyright licenses. However, this blogger argues that despite the low levels of awareness among copyright users, there is still an important need for sales training among the licensing staff of all the CMOs to ensure that they understand the content licenses they are selling and how to create the need and urgency among content users to take out the licenses.

IP Kenya Blog ‘Favourably Received’ by Oxford University Press Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice

OUP JIPLP Vol. 8 No. 10 October 2013 Cover

Exactly a month ago, the renowned blogger, IPKat a.k.a Prof Jeremy Phillips invited the online intellectual property (IP) fraternity to review a number of IP blogs and Twitter accounts from around the world. This blogger was alerted that IP Kenya was among the blogs selected for review. In the call for reviews, IPKenya is described as an “often challenging blog”.

Taken positively, this is a definitely a huge nod of approval. With this great privilege, there are also great expectations to keep the blogging momentum going, diversify the IP subject matter discussed in the blog articles, sharpen the IP analysis presented on the blog while making it all seem effortless like IPKat does.

This blogger is both humbled and happy to be the only other blog from Africa that continues to receive such positive attention and looks forward to the challenges that lay ahead.

Kenyan Cattle Herdsboy Seeks Petty Patent Protection for “Lion Lights” Invention

turere-1-600x397 by WildlifeDirect

For those who may not know, IPKenya’s friend Dr Isaac Rutenberg is the voice behind a series of blog articles over at the Afro-IP blog dubbed “Diary of A Patent Lawyer in Kenya”. In his latest entry, he explains that he was “helping a 14-year old Kenyan attempt to secure IP rights after he had designed a system useful in rearing domestic livestock as well as in wildlife conservation.” He further discloses: “At our inventor’s [the 14-year old Kenyan’s] request, and with the guidance of a local wildlife conservation group, we prepared and filed a Utility Model Certificate application.”

This blogger is strongly convinced that the Utility Model (UM) application in question is in respect of the “Lion Lights” invention by young Richard Turere and supported by WildlifeDirect, in particular CEO, Dr. Paula Kahumbu.

Earlier this year, the Daily Nation published a story about a 13 year old boy Richard Turere: “the young Maasai boy who figured out how to scare off lions by irritating them with flash lights.” According to WildlifeDirect, a local wildlife conservation group, Turere was discovered while the group was working on a project to find new ways to reduce human lion conflict in the Kitengela area just south of the Nairobi National Park in Kenya.

Turere’s invention was born out of a necessity to protect his family’s cattle herd from carnivorous predators, especially lions since they lived right on the edge of the Nairobi National Park. Turere is said to have used his knowledge of lions’ fear of flashing lights to devise an automated lighting system made up of torch bulbs, a box, switches, an old car battery and a solar panel. According to reports, Turere’s lights are “designed to flicker on and off intermittently, thus tricking the lions into believing that someone was moving around carrying a flashlight”.

Lion Lights Invention Richard Turere Wildlife Direct

It is reported that “since Turere rigged up his “Lion Lights,” his family has not lost any livestock to the wild beasts, to the great delight of his father and astonishment of his neighbours.” This invention has become very popular and “around 75 “Lion Light” systems have so far been rigged up around Kenya”. With the support of WildlifeDirect, Turere has presented his invention at the well known TED Conference in 2013 and obtained a scholarship to one of Kenya’s top private preparatory schools.

Comment:

Right off the bat, this blogger was pleased with some of the the comments in the original Daily Nation story about Lion Lights where a couple of ordinary Kenyans wondered whether Turere had obtained patent protection for his invention.

Lion Lights Invention DN comments

These comments demonstrate an increased awareness of intellectual property, its value and the importance of securing IP rights.

Secondly, I salute Dr Rutenberg and his team over at CIPIT for the good work they are doing in helping Kenyans like Turere to identify, understand, protect and promote their IP rights using the various IP systems available in Kenya.

Of Death and Registration: Rethinking Corporate Authorship in Copyright In Light of Emerging Jurisprudence on Corporate Citizenship in Kenya

corporate-personhood

In an earlier post, this blogger asked the question: what is the duration of copyright where the owner of the copyright work is a juristic person? This question stemmed from an on-going discussion about a practice at the Copyright Office whereby corporate entities are permitted to register copyright works in their own names.

Two schools of thought emerged: on one hand, corporate authorship does not exist in Kenya therefore “company-produced” works are to be considered as pseudonymous works with the attendant consequences for expiration of copyright. on the other hand, corporate authorship can be presumed to exist and that the corporate entity will enjoy copyright protection in the same way as a natural person.

At the heart of this debate, is a fundamental question of statutory interpretation. What interpretation should be given to the words “author” and “person” in sections 2(1) and 23(2) of the Copyright Act? Should such interpretation have the effect of excluding juristic persons from the Act?

Interestingly, this month the High Court of Kenya delivered a judgment in the matter of Petition No. 278 of 2011 Nairobi Law Monthly Vs. Kenya Electricity Generating Company & Others, which goes further in limiting the “personhood” of corporate entities in Kenya. This judgment sheds new light on citizens’ right to seek information under Article 35 of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010. The case arose following a petition by Nairobi Law Monthly Limited, publisher of the Nairobi Law Monthly magazine, in which it contended that the refusal of Kenya Electricity Generation Company Limited (Kengen) to disclose some information it required constituted abridgment of the Publisher’s right to Information coupled with its freedom to publish information for the public.

The respondents in this matter argued, inter alia, that the use of the word “citizen” with regard the freedom to seek and obtain information under Article 35 of the Constitution meant that the right cannot be exercised by a natural person who is not a citizen or a company, which cannot be considered a citizen even if its shareholding and directorship is exclusively Kenyan.

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

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