Friday, August 26th, 2022
The Protocol on voluntary registration of copyright and related rights is the fifth Protocol to be administered by the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) which is an inter-governmental organization (IGO) that facilitates cooperation among the Member States in intellectual property matters, intending to pool financial and human resources and seek technological advancement for economic, social, technological, scientific and industrial development. The protocol aims to ensure that creatives benefit from their works and are commercially incentivised- through copyright to create more and explore new markets.
Intellectual property is the key aspect for economic developmentCraig Venner
The Protocol has the following objectives:
The Protocol governs the contracting states in the voluntary registration and notification of copyright and related rights. These states currently include; Botswana, Cape Verde, Kingdom of Eswatini, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Kingdom of Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. To effect voluntary registration as per the protocol, the ARIPO has placed particular measures in place.
The Protocol was adopted on August 28, 2021, in Kampala, here is what you need to know:
The ARIPO database.
ARIPO has established a database into which data on copyright and related rights registered or notified under this Protocol shall be entered and kept. It will manage, update and maintain a database. This database shall be a point for reference and search by any person to whom access shall be granted by ARIPO upon fulfilling the requirements prescribed under the regulations. To have access to the ARIPO database for copyright and related rights, one shall make an application to ARIPO in a prescribed form upon payment of the prescribed fees.
National competent authority.
A contracting state shall notify ARIPO of a body or entity designated as its national competent authority responsible for undertaking the registration of copyright and related rights at the national level; or may designate ARIPO to undertake the function of registering copyright and related rights on its behalf. It shall also be responsible for receiving and maintaining data on copyright and related rights at the national level.
Application for voluntary registration and notification of copyright and related rights.
The author or the owner of, or other people interested in the copyright or related rights in, any work or production may make an application in the prescribed form accompanied by the prescribed fee to the national competent authority or ARIPO for registration of particulars of the work or production in the database. This procedure is prescribed under the respective regulations.
Registration of copyright and related rights
The national competent authority or ARIPO; may accept the application; or refuse the application where it does not comply with the requirements provided for in the Protocol and its regulations. Where an application is accepted, the copyright or related rights shall be registered and entered into the database. The registration of copyright and related rights shall be prima facie evidence of the particulars entered in the database and documents purporting to be copies of any entries therein. Extracts therefrom certified by ARIPO and sealed with the seal of ARIPO shall be admissible in evidence in all courts without further proof or production of the original.
Notification of registered copyright and related rights
A national competent authority of a contracting state shall, upon registration of a copyright or related right, notify ARIPO within the period as prescribed in the regulations. The notification shall be made in a prescribed form accompanied by a copy of the registration certificate or proof of registration issued by the national competent authority. The owner of the copyright or related rights shall pay the prescribed fee as specified under the regulations. ARIPO shall upon receipt of notification and fees enter the copyright or related rights into the ARIPO database.
Withdrawal of application
A person who has fled an application may, in the prescribed form at any time before registration, apply for the withdrawal of the application.
Cancellation of registration
A national competent authority or ARIPO shall cancel the registration of a copyright or related right in the following circumstances: where the initial registration was erroneously made; where the initial registration was fraudulently procured; by an order of a court or any other competent authority, or according to the law of the contracting state. Cancellation may be initiated by: a national competent authority or ARIPO; a copyright or related rights holder; or a person aggrieved by the registration of a copyright or related right in the prescribed form. ARIPO shall within a prescribed period, notify a relevant national competent authority of the cancellation and where cancellation is made at the national level, the national competent authority shall notify ARIPO of the cancellation.
Removal from ARIPO database
ARIPO shall remove the copyright or related right from the ARIPO database where a cancellation has been made or there is a clear error made by the entry into the ARIPO database.
Change in ownership or variation of particulars
A person shall apply for a change in ownership of a copyright or related right to a national competent authority or ARIPO as the case may be. The owner of th3 registered copyright or related rights shall as soon as practicable apply for the registration of any variations to particulars through the national competent authority or ARIPO as the case may be. This application may be accepted or rejected. Where an application is accepted by ARIPO it shall be entered into the ARIPO database and ARIPO shall notify the national competent authority.
Any dispute or claim arising out of this Protocol may be resolved through direct negotiations between or among the Parties in dispute. Where negotiations fail, the Parties shall submit the dispute to the dispute settlement forum as provided for in the regulations. Where a dispute arises between applicants and third parties on the application or interpretation of this Protocol, ARIPO, in consultation with contracting states, shall provide for dispute resolution mechanisms applicable to such a dispute.
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