ARIPO Member States Adpot Protocol on Voluntary Registration of Copyright and Related Rights

Ministers responsible for Copyright and Related Rights from the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) Member States have adopted the first Protocol on Voluntary Registration of Copyright and Related Rights in Africa.

The President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, was the Guest of Honour for this historic Diplomatic Conference for the Adoption of the Draft Protocol on Voluntary Registration of Copyright and Related Rights.

The Protocol was adopted in Kampala, Uganda, on 28 August 2021, by the Member States of ARIPO represented at the Diplomatic Conference. The Council of Ministers of ARIPO at its Seventeenth Session held in Charlesville, Margibi County, the Republic of Liberia in November 2019, endorsed the Legal Framework on Voluntary Registration of Copyright and Related Rights and directed the Secretariat to reformulate the Legal Framework into a Draft Protocol for adoption in a Diplomatic Conference to be held in Kampala, Uganda.

The Protocol presented to the Ministers 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 adopted protocol mandates the Member States to take the necessary steps to ensure rapid ratification or accession to the Protocol and call on the Administrative Council to develop the necessary implementing regulations under Article 18 of the Protocol, in order to ensure prompt and efficient implementation of the Protocol.

Other areas call on the Member States, Cooperating Partners, and other stakeholders to provide financial and material support for the effective implementation of the Protocol; and The name of the adopted Protocol is THE KAMPALA PROTOCOL ON VOLUNTARY REGISTRATION OF COPYRIGHT AND RELATED RIGHTS.

The Protocol, according to ARIPO, was adopted based on the “awareness of the benefits to be derived from a regional system for voluntary registration of Copyright and Related Rights; and recognizing the need to provide to copyright holders means of presumption of ownership of rights.”

The Ministers signed 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.

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.

 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.

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 the 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.

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. ARIPO has 20 Member States.