ARIPO – Adoption of Draft Protocol on Voluntary Registration of Copyright and Related Rights

Published Date: September 15, 2021

ARIPO, with support of the Government of Uganda is organising a Diplomatic Conference for the Adoption of the Draft Protocol on Voluntary Registration of Copyright and Related in Kampala, Uganda from the 23rd to the 24th of July 2021. Ministers from ARIPO Member States and invited practitioners will attend the Diplomatic Conference.

The Protocol will establish a regional voluntary registration of Copyright and Related Rights, create and maintain a Regional Database for Copyright and Related Rights. The protocol will be the first of its kind in Africa and the purpose is to help protect the ARIPO Member States and Africa’s creative industry by ensuring that the creators benefit from their creative works. The exploitation of copyrighted works is a source of revenue for creators and contributes to the growth of the member states’ economies.

The creative industry contributes significantly to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment in countries, based on 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%). These statistics show a great need to harness the economic benefits of this sector and intellectual property protection in Africa by pooling ARIPO’s resources and cooperating with strategic partners.

ARIPO is of the view that having a regional voluntary registration of Copyright and Related Rights in Africa will create an environment which will ensure respect for the copyrighted works. The copyrights holders will be incentivized to create more and explore new markets, thereby increasing their income. The regional voluntary registration of Copyright and Related Rights will enhance ARIPO’s cooperation with the national offices currently responsible for copyright to achieve the Protocol’s purpose.

The main benefit of a voluntary registration is that it will enable an author to have a registration certificate that can be prima facie evidence that it is the owner of the copyright in those works.  He could approach financial institutions for loans, collaterals or engage foreign direct investors or enter into a partnership or commercialize the copyright through licensing, merchandising, selling, etc. A further advantage is that in case of any disputes regarding the copyright, the certificate may be used as a prima facie evidence of ownership and assist in the management and enforcement of the owner’s rights. If the owner’s information is known, it will be easier for a prospective investor to establish contact. ARIPO will therefore contribute to preserving information on creative content in the continent.

ARIPO sees the need to nurture, promote and protect Copyright and Related Rights, as it is vital to the growth of Intellectual Property. The system will enable effective coordination between Copyright Offices (COs), Collective Management Organizations (CMOs), rights holders, and users worldwide.[1]


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