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2009.11.09 10:26:23
Caroline Ncube

ACA2K research was highlighted when South Africa Research Team member Caroline Ncube of the University of Cape Town (UCT) spoke at the first-ever WIPO-ARIPO Seminar on  the Implementation of the Development Agenda (DA) held in Harare 26 -28 October. The seminar was attended by 56 participants from ARIPO member states and observers, members of the diplomatic corps based in Harare, international organisations, research institutions and civil society. Other speakers at the seminar included Sisule Musungu of IQsensato, Prof. Francis Matambalya and Dorothy Mushayavanhu. The topics under discussion encompassed IP and development policy, DA challenges and opportunities at the international and national levels, IP and MDGs, the DA and the public domain, the DA and international technology transfer, and incorporating the DA into national development policy.

ACA2K research was of particular relevance to the sessions on the public domain and national development policy. The participants were keen to hear what our research had established in the study countries and what policy and legislative directions we are recommending based on these findings.  Whilst it was clear at the seminar that much needs to be done to realise the potential of the DA, it was heartening to experience such keen interest and meaningful discussion on the topic. Further, it was encouraging to witness how relevant ACA2K research is to national development policies and the implementation of the DA.

Caroline Ncube
9 November 2009


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2009.10.02 14:52:40
Denise Nicholson

The ACA2K project was highlighted at an important national conference in South Africa this week. 

ACA2K Policy and Dissemination Advisor Denise Nicholson, who is Copyright Services Librarian at Wits University, presented at two sessions at the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA) Conference at the Central University of Technology, Bloemfontein.

She gave a presentation on "Copyright and Access to Knowledge in Africa" at a parallel session on 30 September.  In this talk, she discussed international, regional and local copyright trends and the ACA2K project and its prelimimary findings. She gave the ACA2K Briefing Papers 1 and 2 as handouts to some 40 delegates who attended this session.

On 1 October,  Nicholson spoke to a large audience at a plenary session on "Public Lending Rights." She pointed out that there is no international or national obligation to introduce a public lending right into South Africa libraries and that no other developing country has such a right. 

Nicholson stressed that the current economic climate and state of transformation in South Africa are not conducive to the introduction, maintenance or sustainability of a public lending right. She also pointed out that a public lending right may work in some developed countries because of better state and library resources and because more people can afford to buy books, but there are many other issues to consider in a developing country context. The South African Government has far more pressing socioeconomic issues to budget for than paying a public lending right fee to commercial authors. Also, South Africa lacks a reading culture. Introducing a 'tax to read' would certainly not help the situation. South Africa's current copyright laws do not faciliate access to knowledge.

IFLA and eIFL do not promote a public lending right in developing countries and Nicholson discussed this in her presentation. She suggested that empirical research is necessary to investigate this topic in a developing country context, before it is considered for South African libraries. She also suggested that the Academic and Non-Fiction Authors Association of South Africa (ANFASA), the organisation promoting the lending right, should find alternative ways of creating incentives for authors to write, rather than expecting the government (or public through their taxes) to fund a public lending right scheme. 

Denise Nicholson
2 October 2009

This article is the personal view of the author, Denise Rosemary Nicholson (  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and does not purport to be the view/opinion of her institution or any other organisation or individual


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2009.09.21 19:40:02
Denise Nicholson

On 15 September, the National Library of South Africa (Pretoria Campus) held a seminar on “Trends and Developments in Publishing and Digital Archiving.” More than 90 people registered for this seminar, representing publishers, authors, academics, researchers, broadcasters and librarians . Members of the Legal Deposit Committee of the Ministry of Arts and Culture, and officials from the Culture and the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (CIPRO) also attended.

The seminar was officially opened by John Tsebe, CEO and National Librarian, who welcomed all delegates to this important event. Lynn Johnson was the first speaker, presenting on “Digital Archiving@eTV” and discussing the move from analogue to digital broadcasting at eTV. Roy Page-Shipp, a consultant, spoke on “Digitisation in South Africa” and highlighted some of the important considerations libraries and archives have to take into account when digitising archival and copyright material.

Denise Nicholson, ACA2K Policy and Dissemination Advisor and Copyright Services Librarian at Wits University, gave a presentation on "Copyright in Africa." She discussed international, regional and local copyright trends which impact on African countries and distributed copies of ACA2K Briefing Papers. She stressed the need for more appropriate limitations and exceptions and a review of the South African Copyright Act. Nicholson stated that the South African Government is a member of the Africa Group at WIPO and a strong supporter of the WIPO Development Agenda, and questioned why the government has not amended its national copyright law accordingly. Provisions are urgently needed in the copyright law for digitisation and digital curation, education, libraries and persons with sensory disabilities.

Francois Hendrikz, Director of the SA Library for the Blind, presented on “Alternative Readings: Resources for the Visually-Impaired,” and highlighted the difficulties experienced by persons who are print-handicapped. Their access to knowledge is severely hampered since only 5 per cent of all publications are available in alternative formats. The South African Copyright Act has no provisions for persons with sensory disabilities and appropriate exceptions are therefore urgently needed to rectify this situation. 

Sandra Land of the Centre for Adult Education at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, spoke about “The State of Book Development in South Africa” and highlighted issues affecting the reading culture in South Africa.

Denise Nicholson
21 September 2009


  publishing; copyright; digitisation
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2009.09.21 18:47:20
Denise Nicholson

On 9th July 2009, the ACA2K Ugandan Research Team held its National Dialogue Workshop at the Grand Imperial Hotel in Kampala, Uganda. The Team members are Dr. Dick Kawooya (lead researcher of the ACA2K Project), Mr. Ronald Kakungulu Mayambala and Ms. Jeroline Akubu.

Dr. Kawooya opened the proceedings with a warm welcome to delegates. Ms. Akubu presented on the “Introduction to ACA2K and the Ugandan Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act, 2006”, followed by Mr. Kakungulu Mayambala who spoke about the “Doctrinal Analysis of the Findings of the Uganda Study”. Dr. Kawooya then presented the “Findings of the Uganda Study on Copyright and Access to Learning Materials”, highlighting the inadequacies in the current copyright law and recommending more appropriate and balanced copyright laws.

Guest speaker, Dr. Marisella Ouma, who is from the Kenyan Copyright Board and Innovative Lawyering and a member of the Kenyan ACA2K Research Team, presented on “Copyrights and Access to Learning Material – Kenyan Experience”. The second guest speaker, Mrs. Denise Nicholson, ACA2K Policy & Dissemination Advisor and Copyright Services Librarian at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, presented on “Limitations and Exceptions in Education and Research Environments: SA experience – lessons for Uganda.” She also provided “Tips for Developing Countries when reviewing their Copyright laws”.

Delegates representing mainly publishers, IP law firms, musicians, academics and librarians participated in this workshop. The last session was a panel discussion which gave delegates the chance to discuss and debate various copyright and related issues. Each delegate received a copy of the Executive Policy Brief, the Uganda Country Report and the ACA2K Briefing Paper 1, April 2009, and ACA2K Briefing Paper 2, May 2009.

There was keen media interest in this workshop, resulting in the three research team members and some of the delegates being interviewed on UBC Tonight TV Channel on the evening of 9 July 2009. The event was also reported on NTV, WBS TV stations and on Radio One, KFM, Simba and other radio broadcasts. Newspapers also reported this event, e.g.”Copyright law may limit knowledge access – experts which appeared in East African Business Week on 13 July 2009 and Copyright law could increase illiteracy, researchers warn in the Uganda Observer on 2 August 2009.

Denise Nicholson

21 September 2009


  copyright; Africa; ACA2K
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2009.09.18 15:17:12
Denise Nicholson

The National Dialogue Workshop for the ACA2K Ghana Research Team was held at the Erata Hotel, Accra, Ghana on 30 June 2009.  It was organized with a grant support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Canada, and the Shuttleworth Foundation in South Africa.

The aim of the workshop was to highlight the interaction between access to knowledge and the copyright environment in Ghana. It was intended to address all stakeholders on the issues of access to knowledge and the interaction with copyright and to make a case for the revision and improvement of the copyright regulatory framework in Ghana.   

The workshop was formally opened with a keynote address from the Hon. Attorney General and Minister for Justice of Ghana, Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu. She stressed the importance of a balanced copyright regime. She said that “one way of facilitating access to knowledge is through the institutionalization of a ‘balanced’ copyright regulatory society. In accord with the object of a progressive copyright regulatory environment, the law should endeavour to promote the public interest in the encouragement and dissemination of works of the arts and intellect while at the same time providing a just reward for the creator.”
This quest for a regulatory reform has received support and commendation from Hon. Ms. Betty Mould, from whose Ministry laws in Ghana originate.  

There were a number of speakers, including the Copyright Administrator of Ghana, Mr. Bernard Bosumprah, who focused primarily on the need to ensure effective protection of the intellectual property rights of authors.  The Head Librarian of the Faculty of Law, University Ghana, Mr. Emmanuel Darkey, focused on library perspectives with regard to limitations and exceptions for education and research environments in Ghana. He bemoaned the numerous restrictions on library access in Ghana, including the exclusion of private universities from benefiting from some of exceptions under the copyright law. There are three researchers in the Ghana research team, namely, Poku Adusei, Kwama Anyimadu-Antwi and Naana Halm.  Unfortunately due to illness, Naana Halm was not able to participate in this workshop. The other two team members presented the key findings and the regulatory recommendations of the ACA2K Ghana Country Report before formally launching the said Report. Besides the Executive Policy Brief that was distributed, copies of the published country report were distributed to the copyright stakeholders and their institutions. Interviews were also granted to the media, who wanted further details about the study. 
The final segment of the workshop was devoted to answering questions and discussion among the participants. Contributions from the representatives of the library services, the school for the blind, Copy Ghana, and the universities helped enrich the discussions. Suggestions were made for the inclusion of exceptions for the disabled and the shortening of the duration of copyright protection in Ghana. Also calls were made for the removal of taxes on materials imported for purposes of printing books in Ghana. 

This article is based on a report prepared for ACA2K by Poku Adusei.  

Denise Nicholson
18 September 2009


  Ghana; A2K; copyright; Africa
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2009.09.09 11:43:57
Denise Nicholson

International intellectual property agreements allow limitations and exceptions to be adopted in national copyright laws.  Here are some tips for developing countries when reviewing their copyright laws:

  • Adopt a maximalist approach – include as many limitations and exceptions as already in copyright regimes around the world – keep door open for new exceptions as technology changes.
  • Try to separate exceptions for entertainment from exceptions for education and libraries in your copyright law.
  • Ensure adequate exceptions for libraries, archives and museums (including provisions for accessing and providing information; digitization; preservation, digital curation (including migration to new technologies as they change)).
  • Ensure adequate exceptions for people with sensory-disabilities (e.g. blind, visually-impaired, print- handicapped, blind/deaf, deaf, dyslexic, reading & learning disabilities, etc.)
  • Ensure adequate exceptions for classroom teaching, as well as distance and open learning, literacy training, adult basic education, non-commercial staff training and sharing of information amongst colleagues for research, discussion and information purposes.
  • Do not include protection for non-original databases. (It had little or no positive impact for rightsholders in the EU and created problems for users). Original databases are protected by copyright like any original work.
  • Keep or reduce the copyright term to the lifetime of the author plus 50 years in terms of the minimum requirements of international IP agreements – Longer terms do not benefit net importers of intellectual property.
  • Do not include anti-circumvention clauses, unless there are clear, balanced exceptions to enable access to information.
  • Do not include public lending/educational lending rights (countries are not obliged to in terms of any international agreements). To date, no developing country has adopted a lending right. IFLA and eIFL do not promote public lending rights for developing countries. See IFLA Position Paper on the Public Lending Right and its Background Paper on the Public Lending Right.
  • Adopt the best provisions from WIPO Studies on -

Limitations & Exceptions for the Visually-Impaired;

Limitations & Exceptions of Copyright & Related Rights in the Digital Environment

Copyright Limitations & Exceptions for Education – final report due at end of 2009


  copyright tips; tips for developing
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2009.09.02 16:05:10
Denise Nicholson

Assane Faye, ACA2K researcher from Senegal, and Denise Nicholson, ACA2K Policy and Dissemination Advisor, attended the World Library and Information Congress: 75th IFLA General Conference and Assembly (23-27 August 2009), held at the Fiera Milano Convention Centre in Milan, Italy.  The theme of the conference was "Libraries create futures: Building on cultural heritage".  There was a total attendance of 4 496 people at this conference, consisting of  3,931 registrants, 228 volunteers and members of the Italian staff, 128 exhibitors, 34 press, 30 interpreters and various other guests.


  ifla; world library congress; a2k;
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2009.09.02 15:07:19
Denise Nicholson

As part of the Dissemination and Policy Engagement programme of ACA2K, the ACA2K Research Team for Mozambique organized their National Copyright Dialogue Workshop at Hotel VIP in Maputo, Mozambique on 12 August 2009. The seminar was the culmination of two years of research.  41 delegates attended the workshop, representing libraries, academic institutions, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC)(Canada),  the Mozambique Copyright Office, UTREL, SOMAS and representatives of right holders. Each delegate received a copy of the Country Research Report and the Execuive Policy Brief.  


  copyright; intellectual property; m
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2009.09.02 14:39:11
Denise Nicholson

Electronic Information for Libraries (eIFL) has launched its digital version of its Model Copyright Law.  This Model law was based on the  Model Copyright Law of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and has been expanded to accommodate appropriate limitations and exceptions for libraries and education. eIFL sought legal advice from intellectual property experts around the world.  This Model Law provides a framework for Governments, especially in developing countries, to review their copyright laws and to adopt more balanced national copyright laws.

As Kevin Smith states in his blog article on this model law, "Its clear set of definitions and the explanatory notes that accompany each exception and limitation make it ideal for gaining a synoptic view of the state of international copyright law.  Most important is the consistent focus on the public interest and the socially beneficial purpose that copyright law is intended to serve". Also, see his later blog article promoting the model law.

Copyright limitations and exceptions are now a key item on the WIPO Development Agenda and WIPO has commissioned a number of studies in recent years on copyright limitations and exceptions. In 2008, a study on copyright limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives was done by Dr. Kenneth Crews.  During 2009, five researchers in different regions of the world were commissioned by WIPO to do a study on limitations and exceptions for education.

In the African Copyright and Access to Knowledge (ACA2K) Project's preliminary findings, (Briefing Paper 1 and Briefing Paper 2) it was found that all eight study countries in Africa, (i.e. South Africa, Kenya, Mozambique, Ghana, Morocco, Uganda, Egypt and Senegal) were compliant with, or had stricter copyright laws than were required by international copyright agreements.  A study by Consumers International in 2006 showed that the copyright laws in all eleven study countries in Asia far exceeded the requirements of international copyright agreements. Limitations and exceptions, particularly for development purposes, had not been promoted by WIPO in its assistance to these countries.

eIFL's Model Copyright Law is therefore very timely. It offers model limitations and exceptions that are designed to facilitate access to knowledge and the public interest.  It also provides a model for developing countries which have few, if any, limitations and exceptions to facilitate access to knowledge.  The ACA2K preliminary findings also showed that infringing activities, rather than copyright law, were facilitating access to knowledge, particularly learning materials, in the eight study countries. 
(Blog item first appeared on http://kim.wits.ac.za on 1 September 2009 - this is a slightly updated version)

Denise Nicholson

9 September 2009

This article is the personal view of the author, Denise Rosemary Nicholson ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) and does not purport to be the view/opinion of her institution or any other organisation or individual.


  model copyright law; eifl;
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2009.07.22 19:03:40
Denise Nicholson

Andrew Rens, Intellectual Property Fellow for the Shuttleworth Foundation (South Africa) has written a thought-provoking blog on "Explanation of Rent Seeking with example: public lending rights in South Africa”.  He points out that if the Academic and Non-Fiction Authors Association of South Africa (ANFASA) succeed in their lobby for a Public Lending Right (PLR), it will mean that the Department of Arts and Culture will have

"to spend its slender budget which has already been depleted to pay publishers for the books in public libraries to pay again for every time that public libraries lend the books out.


  authors | rent seeking; public lending right
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2009.07.06 18:16:50
Denise Nicholson

Denise Nicholson, Policy and Dissemination Advisor of the ACA2K Project , and Copyright Services Librarian at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, was keynote speaker at the 20th Bi-Annual Conference of the East and Southern Africa Regional Branch of the International Council of Archives (ESARBICA), held in Windhoek, Namibia, from 1-3 July 2009.


  ESARBICA; copyright; nicholson
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2009.07.06 10:39:55
Denise Nicholson

The Academic and Non-Fiction Authors Association (ANFASA) is proposing to introduce a Public Lending Right  (PLR) into South African libraries, according to an article by Dugie Standeford of IP Watch. See article at http://www.ip-watch.org/weblog/2009/06/29/south-african-authors-seek-first-public-lending-right-in-a-developing-country/. This was also announced at a recent DALRO workshop in May 2009, where the Director of ANFASA said that academic authors and reference works would also be included in this proposal.

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2009.06.18 06:50:14
Pria Chetty

"It is through language that we are able to form concepts, to structure and order the world around us. Language bridges the gap between isolation and community, allowing humans to delineate the rights and duties they hold in respect of one another, and thus to live in society."

MEC Mahlangu's speech on International Translation Day held (27/10/2007) at Pixley ka Seme Municipality, Volksrust SA


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2009.06.04 18:27:32
Denise Nicholson

The future female leaders of Africa are up against major barriers to knowledge access, which could mean lost opportunities in university learning and teaching the state-of-the-art research most necessary for academic success.


  gender; women; copyright; access to
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2009.05.31 13:33:22
Perihan Abou Zeid

World Intellectual Property Organization
SCCR Eighteenth Session
Geneva, May 25 to 29, 2009

prepared by the Chair



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2009.05.29 13:55:54
Perihan Abou Zeid

Day four of the SCCR meetings focussed on discussing the remaining substantial issues which were the protection of audiovisual performances and the protection of broadcasting organisations. Many developed Member States and Germany on behalf on group B expressed its appreciation that the protection of audiovisual performances is discussed within the SCCR.


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2009.05.28 13:06:29
Perihan Abou Zeid

"The above findings arise from the detailed work done by the eight country teams which have recently completed reports examining the copyright environments in their respective countries and the impact thereof on access to learning materials". Pria Chetty on behalf of the ACA2K project.  


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2009.05.27 15:28:37
Pria Chetty

The following statement was delivered by ACA2K South Africa researcher, Pria Chetty on behalf of ACA2K (in collaboration with IQsensato) at the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) meeting on 27 May 2009. Our appreciation is expressed to IQsensato for the platform to present specific ACA2K research findings relevant to the issue of copyright exceptions and limitations that is being deliberated at the meeting. The statement follows:


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2009.05.27 10:18:55
Perihan Abou Zeid

"Disability is not and excuse for isolation or disengagement", Delegate of Nigeria.


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2009.05.27 10:11:47
Pria Chetty

At the 18th Session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights taking place in Geneva between the 25th and 29th May 2009, the World Blind Union a proposed a Treaty which presents possible ways and means of facilitating and enhancing access to protected works for the blind, visually impaired and other reading disabled persons.  This proposed Treaty was submitted under Item 5 of the Agenda (Exceptions and Limitations) as an example of norm setting activity in the field of exceptions and limitations.


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