The Protocol on Voluntary Registration of Copyright and Related Rights  has been adopted in Kampala, Uganda at the Diplomatic Conference  held at Munyonyo  Speke resort . Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni officiated at the well attended event.

President Museveni called on the members of ARIPO to consider coming up with a fair mechanism I which parties that contribute to various  innovations can fairly benefit .  He noted that  due to the lack of sensitization on copyright among the masses a number of innovators have ended up not profitably gaining from their own innovations.The Conference was attended by the Director General of ARIPO,  Bemanya Twebaze, Uganda’s Attorney General ,Kiryowa Kiwanuka and Ms. Mercy K. Kainobwisho the URSB Registrar General .

The  Ministers responsible for Copyright and Related Rights from the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) Member States  met from 27 to 28 August 2021 and  adopted the first Protocol on Voluntary Registration of Copyright and Related Rights in Africa.

The Council of Ministers of ARIPO at its Seventeenth Session held in Charlesville, Margibi County, Republic of Liberia in November 2019, endorsed the Legal Framework on Voluntary Registration of Copyright and Related Rights which has resulted in the  formulation of  a legal framework-the  Draft Protocol that was adopted in Kampala, Uganda.

 The draft Protocol  was presented to the Ministers after it was endorsed by the 11th Extraordinary Session of the Administrative Council, which was held from 23 to 26 August 2021 following the review of the draft in a meeting of Copyright Experts held from 20 to 21 August 2021 at the Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kampala, Uganda.

The Ministers are expected to sign the Protocol as a show of acceptance and adoption. The Protocol on Voluntary Registration of Copyright and Related Rights will come into force three months after five States have deposited their instruments of ratification or accession.

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Copyright has a competitive advantage in Africa. However, it is yet to realize its full potential. Being the first of its kind in Africa, the Protocol will help promote creators from the ARIPO Member States and Africa’s creative industry by ensuring that they benefit from their creative works. Benefits will include providing an effective means of presumption as to authorship and or ownership and facilitate the enforcement of Copyright and Related Rights.

Officials said that the Protocol on Voluntary Registration of Copyright and Related Rights will establish a Regional Voluntary Registration of Copyright. “ It will create a conducive environment to ensure respect for the copyrighted works and facilitate the promotion of creative industries in the ARIPO Member States and Africa. The Protocol also aims to ensure that the creators benefit from their creative works, are incentivized to create more and explore new markets, thereby increasing their income,” a statement issued by the secretariat  read in part .

The Diplomatic Conference for the Adoption of the Draft Protocol on Voluntary Registration of Copyright and Related Rights was made possible with the support from respective ARIPO Member States, more especially the government of Uganda through the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office.

The 20 ARIPO Member States are Botswana, The Kingdom of Eswatini, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, The Kingdom of Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

About ARIPO ARIPO is Africa’s leading Intellectual Property hub that fosters creativity and innovation for economic growth and development in Africa. ARIPO’s mandate is on Copyright and Related Rights, Patents & Utility Models, Industrial Designs, Trademarks, Traditional Knowledge & Expressions of Folklore, Access and Benefit Sharing, Geographical Indications and Plant Variety Protection.

The ARIPO Secretariat is based in Harare, Zimbabwe.

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