Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Zimbabwe Considering Copyrighting Laws

The Zimbabwean has a detailed article discussing the proposed amendment to the Zimbabwe Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act (pdf).  The proposed amendment comes from Clause 16 of the General Laws Amendment Bill  (Afro-Leo tried to find a copy of this Bill, but could not find any more recent than 2005).

According to the article, the bill proposes to put the items currently exempted from copyright under Section 10 of the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act within the scope of copyright.  Section 10 (6) excludes most government works: official texts of enactments, official texts of Bills [Guess they won’t be any easier to find anytime soon], official records of judicial proceedings and decisions, items published in the Gazette, things published in the Trade Marks Journal [Wonder how that will affect TM infringement cases if it’s difficult to find out what’s in the Journal], and official texts of international agreements [that one will be super hard to enforce since the agreements are in the public domain so many other places]. 

The Zimbabwean article explains how this proposal might violate the Zimbabwe Constitution by violating the freedom of expression granted in Section 20.  The article also points out that this proposal is a bad idea because that people must be able to know what the law is in order to follow the law.  Somehow, when reading the article, one gets the idea that’s the point of the amendment.

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