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DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER NAKADDAMA RALLIES AFRICAN NATIONS TO SUPPORT COPYRIGHT PROTOCOL

By Joel Mugabi

Third Deputy Prime Minister Lukia Nakaddama has explained how copyright can protect industries from economic shocks, and rallied African countries to support the protocol presented by the session of intellectual rights.

Today, Nakaddama represented Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja at the opening of the 11th Extraordinary Session of the Administrative Council of African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) at Commonwealth Speke Resort. The council session is part of the Diplomatic Conference for the adoption of ARIPO protocol on voluntary registration of copyright and related rights.  The Conference is being attended by Heads of Intellectual Property Offices from 20 African Members states of ARIPO.

Nakaddama noted that one of the factors undermining respect and recognition of copyright in Africa is the lack of documentation of ownership of works. She urged ARIPO member states to put in place a system to facilitate registration of copyright at a regional level to provide evidence for ownership.

She further argued that copyright-based industries are resilient to economic shocks which can hurt other sectors, adding that such industries have low barriers of entry. The Deputy Prime Minister went on to rally Member States to support the protocol and to utilize the system which will be put in place under the same. “Let us envision a region where everybody who wants to exploit a given work can find it, remunerate the owner, and exploit it. Copyright works are supposed to be used and exploited to the benefit of the creators,” she added.

ARIPO Director General (DG) Bemanya Twebaze made it clear that “the Africa we want tomorrow depends on what we do today and this protocol is the right step in that direction.”

DG Twebaze further appreciated the Uganda Government for enabling the conference to takeplace amidst challenges occassioned by the Covid19 pandemic. He went on to salute his successor at URSB Mercy Kainobwisho for a job well done in coordinating the ARIPO conference.

On her part, URSB Registrar General Kainobwisho praised ARIPO for supporting development of intellectual property systems in the African Intellecrual Property Offices.

Last week, copyright and related rights experts from ARIPO met at Speke Resort Munyonyo on August 20 and 21 for part of the sessions leading up to the Diplomatic Conference for the Adoption of the Draft Protocol on Voluntary Registration of Copyright and Related Rights to be held on August 27and 28.

The Copyright Experts were joined by the ARIPO potential Member States and cooperating partners and reviewed the draft Protocol that took into account the inputs of the Member States and cooperating partners.

The participants to the Experts’ meeting also benefited from presentations on experience and successes of the voluntary registration system in Hungary and Spain.  These presentations were made by Dr Peter Labody, Director of the Copyright Department at the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office, and Raquel Xalabarder, Professor of Intellectual Property at the University of Catalunya.

It was the reviewed and improved draft Protocol that will be discussed by 11th Extraordinary Session of the Administrative Council from August 23-26 for endorsement. The endorsed protocol will be presented to the Council of Ministers during the Diplomatic Conference on August 27 and 28 for adoption.

The Protocol will establish a Regional Voluntary Registration of Copyright and Related Rights and create and maintain a Regional Database for Copyright and Related Rights. The system will integrate with that of the respective Member States. It will also play a significant role in capacity building for the Member States, enhancing the National Copyright Offices’ institutional infrastructure, facilitating, and encouraging shaping of the Member States’ Copyright and Related Rights landscape while observing the international standards. It will also provide an effective presumption as to authorship and/ or ownership; it can facilitate commercialization, more creativity, expansion of markets, and the enforcement of rights.

The Experts Meeting is supported by the Intellectual Property Rights & Innovation in Africa project (AfrIPI) whose objective is to facilitate economic growth in Africa. The AfrIPI project aims to promote, enhance and protect Intellectual Property Rights across Africa, in support of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which entered into force in May 2019 and unleashed the potential of integrating the economies of the 54 countries that signed the Agreement and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

AfrIPI will also strengthen intellectual property protection in Africa and raise awareness of the importance and value of intellectual property (such as geographical indications, patents or trademarks) among African micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), the productive sector and society. The project is funded by the European Union and will be accomplished by 2025.(For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at mulengera2040@gmail.com).

 

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