Friday, 2 May 2008

Taking stock of piracy: Zimbabwe reflects

Writing in AllAfrica, Stephen J Chifunyise mentions that World IP Day in Zimbabwe was a day to recognise that a lot still needs to be done to ensure the growth and development of a viable copyright industry:
"It was a day the nation considered supporting the copyright societies such as the ZIMCOPY, the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association and the Zimbabwe Anti-piracy Organisation in their difficult tasks of monitoring and administering copyrights and fighting piracy. The ZIMCOPY has in the last two years registered tremendous success in holding fruitful dialogues with institutions who photocopy books for educational purposes to pay the required photocopying licence fees similar to what public users of published music pay annually.

The copyright organisation whose members include associations of writers, and book publishers is confident that all organisations who have to photocopy books for educational and other purposes will join hands in the implementation of those aspects of the Zimbabwe Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act that require that writers and publishers are duly compensated. It is most heartening that tremendous understanding on the need to respect the intellectual property rights of writers and book publishers has been attained and that was is left are implementation strategies that will be initiated this year.

The Zimbabwe Anti-piracy Organisation has recently recruited recording studios, record companies, music retailers as members who commit themselves to collectively fighting against music piracy. Together with the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association, the organisation has mounted very successful anti-piracy campaigns featuring musicians, music retailers and recording companies".
After discussing the problems of lack of general awareness on the part of the public and the special difficulties posed by the internet, he adds, on a constructive note:
"The Nairobi Plan of Action on Cultural Industries in Africa has very comprehensive recommendations on actions necessary in the promotion of copy rights and the way towards effective fights against piracy, the following are some of them:

Unesco together with member states and regional organisations are encouraged to facilitate networks, forums and inter-regional collaborations and agreement in the following areas-

1. Elaborate regional agreements specific to cultural industries, relating to taxes, intellectual property rights, private investment and sponsorship.

2. Invigorate the African Organisation for Intellectual Property based in Yaounde, Cameroon and the African Regional intellectual Property organisation based in Harare, Zimbabwe.

3. Encourage the creation of groups and associations of creative writers, artists and professionals of the cultural industries with a view to promoting them to better protect their rights and their professions.

4. Encourage artist to become organised into associations of crafters to establish standards and ensure the protection of their intellectual property rights.

The Nairobi Plan of Action on Cultural industries in Africa also recommends that the African Union and the World Intellectual Property Organisation should "develop legislative policy to protect the intellectual cultural property of ethnic groups such as traditional medicines which may be of benefit to the broader society and may also be commercially viable and provide necessary source of revenue to these communities".

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