The continent of Africa is set to synchronize its Intellectual property registration and protection through the Kampala Protocol on voluntary registration of copyright and related works.
The Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) recently announced that a regional database for creative works is on the cards. The development of the protocol follows a Diplomatic Conference for the Adoption of the Kampala Protocol on Voluntary Registration of Copyright and Related Rights. The Diplomatic conference was hosted by the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) where CIPA represented Botswana.
ARIPO has 20 Member States, Botswana, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe among others.
The purpose of the regional database is to provide increased opportunities for creatives in Botswana and other member states to commercially exploit their works in regional and international markets. The database will also enable copyright holders to be notified timeously should there be infringement on their works and it will also serve as a reference point for resolution of copyright disputes.
Local content producer and LionTrek films owner Segolame Gaebepe believes this database can be helpful. “The internet has made viewing content easier and in different places at once, this can be hard to monitor who watches what you are doing and copies it. I think this kind of database can be helpful in protecting our ideas from being used without our knowledge and it can also help us make money or attract sponsors from other countries. As the registered IP will have our contact details.”
The Companies and Intellectual Property Authority further shared that having the region’s creative works located in one central place will also facilitate ARIPO and member states to make informed decisions for the advancement of the creative industries.
The voluntary registration of Copyright and Related Rights reassures business communities and opens doors for rights holders. The system will enable effective coordination between Copyright Offices (COs), Collective Management Organizations (CMOs), rights holders, and users worldwide.
The regional voluntary registration of Copyright and Related Rights will enhance ARIPO’s cooperation with the national offices responsible for copyright to achieve the Protocol’s purpose. The national registration systems often hold valuable information on creativity from legal and economic perspectives and provide statistics on authors, performers, right holders, and their works, recordings, and productions in their countries.
The voluntary registration of Copyright and Related Rights will also enable an author to have a registration certificate that can be a prima facie evidence on owning that property (Copyright and Related Rights works, recordings and productions). He may approach the financial institutions for loans, collaterals or engage foreign direct investors or enter into partnership or use the different means to commercialize the property such as licensing, merchandising, selling.
According to ARIPO the creative industry contributes significantly to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment in countries, as evidenced from the WIPO Studies on the Economic Contribution of the Copyright Based Industries in Africa.
According to the WIPO Study data from 2016, Botswana’s contribution to GDP was 5.46%, which is the highest, followed by Kenya’s 2007 data at 5.32%. South Africa is the highest on employment at 4% in 2008, followed by Malawi at 3.35% in 2009. In Tanzania, the creative industry contribution was higher than the mining and quarrying sector in 2009 and 2010 at 3.2% and 2.8%, respectively.
In Malawi, the creative industry contribution was higher than that of the mining and quarrying, human health, education, construction and transport and storage sectors. Botswana’s 2018 creative industry surpassed other essential sectors such as water and electricity (0.3%), agriculture (2%), and manufacturing (5.20%). The statistics above show a great need to harness the sector and intellectual property protection in Africa by pooling our resources and cooperating with strategic partners.