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Denise Nicholson

2010.11.24 08:02:22

Denise Nicholson, ACA2K Policy & Dissemination Advisor and Copyright Services Librarian at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, has recently been invited to a number of important copyright and access to knowledge workshops regionally and internationally.  

Nicholson was invited as an African copyright expert to assist the AU and the WIPO African Group in their meeting in early November in Geneva. She was not able to attend that meeting, but has been communicating with the African Group regarding their proposal on copyright limitations and exceptions to the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), providing the negotiators with information and references on copyright and A2K issues.    

Nicholson  was then invited to present on the ACA2K project at the UNESCO/eIFL/ASSAf Regional Workshop on Open Access held this week in Pretoria, on 22 and 23 November. Nicholson is the South African representative for the eIFL-IP Project. 

Nicholson has also been invited by the Danish National Commission for UNESCO to present on "Open Access from an African Perspective," and to outline the recommendations from the above-mentioned Regional Workshop, at a meeting in Copenhagen on 6 December.

24 November 2010

  Open Access; A2K: UNESCO; ASSAf; eI
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2010.11.01 08:20:00

It is good to see that more books are being published on the topic of access to knowledge.  MIT Press has just published "Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property". It may be downloaded free of charge.

This book is a good read for educators, librarians and others interested in freedom of expression and access to knowledge.  It will also provide good reading for other stakeholders involved in intellectual property matters.

As James Boyle of Duke University and author of The Public Domain states: "This is a must-have for university libraries, but it is also something that will be read intently, tactically, and sometimes uneasily, in venues ranging from WIPO to the university classroom. Highly recommended."



Denise Nicholson

1 November 2010

This article is the personal viewpoint  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 viewpoint/opinion of her institution or any other organisation or individual.

  access to knowledge; A2K; intellect
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2010.10.21 10:55:52

Around the world, international Open Access Week has been celebrated this week (18-23 October 2010).  Celebrations of opening up and sharing information, research and cultural heritage have also been held at many higher educational institutions and libraries in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa.

There are many definitions of Open Access and various Open Access Declarations, such as the Budapest Open Access Initiative, the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Science & Humanities, the Bethesda Statement on Open Access, and the Salvador Declaration on Open Access, which show more and more institutions around the world are adopting Open access.
Many publishers deposit preprints or postprints, (and some even allow the final PDF versions), into institutional repositories or research archives.  Many institutions have either adopted or are considering adopting a Mandate for their academic staff to deposit copies of their research papers and publications in their institutional repositories or research archives. 

For developing countries, where the cost of textbooks and other learning materials, electronic databases, e-books, etc. are very expensive and library budgets are constantly being cut because of lack of resources, Open Access publishing  ('the Gold' route) and Institutional repositories (the 'Green' route) are very positive alternatives to enable educators, researchers, authors, publishers, and other information-users to access information and research, but also to contribute to information and research on a global stage. Other developing and developed countries can benefit from African knowledge too.  Copyright clearances for developing countries are also expensive, since most of the works they reproduce are from works in developed countries.

  open access; research; africa; sout
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2010.05.31 08:41:05

The Global Research Report on Africa 2010 provides useful information about research trends in African countries, as well as problems and challenges on the continent.  The Feasibility Study on the AfricaConnect Initiative (Dec 2008-Dec 2009) highlights ICT challenges and opportunities in Africa and implications for African research.

  Copyright; africa; research
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2010.05.27 09:13:45

In developed countries barely 5% of all published works are available in formats which are accessible to blind and visually impaired people. In developing countries, this number drops to a mere 0.5%.  So 99.5% of published books are inaccessible to blind and partially sighted South Africans.

The South African Copyright law exacerbates the problem as there are no provisions for persons with disabilities to convert material into accessible formats.

  Copyright; TVI; Blind; Disabled
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2010.05.24 09:12:40

On 20 May 2010, the Intellectual Property Amendment Bill, 2010 (Traditional Knowledge) was presented to the Portfolio Committee for Trade and Industry by the Department of Trade and Industry.  Despite objections and recommendations made by many stakeholders through written submissions and at various public hearings around South Africa, the Bill is virtually the same as the original version published for comment in 2008.  Public hearings scheduled for May 2010 have now been postponed until July 2010 (dates unknown at this stage).

Apart from not including any limitations and exceptions for research, education, libraries and persons with sensory-disabilities, it fails to address a number of key issues and queries that stakeholders across the board have raised about the Bill, e.g. vague definitions for traditional knowledge works and indigenous communities, problem clauses, ownership by a National Trust, fixation issues around folklore, and many others.  

The results of the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) commissioned by the Presidency and the Department of Trade and Industry during 2009 have not yet been made public.  For the sake of transparency, and before this Bill proceeds any further, it is incumbent on the Department of Trade and Industry to make the RIA open to the public and to inform the public why their recommendations and objections have been ignored to date.

Denise Nicholson
24 May 2010

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

  traditional knowledge; south africa
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2010.03.01 18:17:43

In November 2004, the Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) Policy was adopted in South Africa. In May 2008, the South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) published the Intellectual Property Amendment Bill in the Government Gazette for public comment. This Bill proposed to include traditional knowledge works as a category of protected work and to amend intellectual property legislation accordingly. This required amendments to be made to the Performers' Act of 1967; the Copyright Act of 1978; the Trade Marks Act of 1993 and the Designs Act of 1993.

Stakeholders across the board, including the tertiary sector, submitted objections and recommendations for changes to be made to the Bill before it was presented to Parliament. The DTI held various public hearings around the country during 2008 and again strong objections were raised and recommendations made by IP lawyers, librarians, academics, musicians, rights organisations and other stakeholders.  In a
Mail & Guardian Online article, Dr. Owen Dean of Spoor and Fisher slammed the Bill as an "abomination". Judge Louis Harms was also critical of the Bill. 

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2009.12.17 06:57:56

ACA2K researchers are participating in this week's WIPO SCCR 19th Meeting in Geneva, which runs from 14 to 18 December. 

The ACA2Kers, Perihan Abou Zeid of Egypt and Tobias Schonwetter of South Africa, have launched
ACA2K Briefing Paper No. 3. And, in conjunction with research organisation IQsensato (based in Geneva), Schonwetter read a statement to SCCR.

The statement was as follows:
"Thank you Mr. Chairman. I speak on behalf of IQsensato, which welcomes the opportunity to speak at this session of the SCCR. IQsensato’s purpose is to provide an international platform for promoting the research and thinking of researchers and experts to inform and shape international policy debates and discussions such as the ones taking place in this Committee. It is in this context, IQsensato has been collaborating with the African Copyright and Access to Knowledge (ACA2K) Project (http://www.aca2k.org/index.php/); a project that has explored for over two years, through empirical research, the relationship between national intellectual property (IP) frameworks, particularly the copyright environments, and access to knowledge in African countries. The project covers eight African countries, namely Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda.

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2009.12.16 15:39:14

 The ACA2K South Africa Research Team -- Tobias Schonwetter, Caroline Ncube and Pria Chetty -- has presented its research findings at two policy stakeholder workshops, on 12 November at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and on 3 December at the Wits Graduate School of Public and Development Management (P&DM) in Johannesburg. UCT's Prof. Julian Kinderlerer gave the opening address at the Cape Town workshop, whilst Uganda's Dr. Dick Kawooya, the ACA2K Lead Researcher, opened the Johannesburg meeting. Also in attendance at the events were Fernando dos Santos of the ACA2K Mozambique Research Team and Denise Nicholson, the ACA2K Policy and Dissemination Advisor, both of whom gave presentations. 

See presentations by:


Fernando dos Santos

Denise Nicholson

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2009.12.16 15:09:32

Denise Nicholson, ACA2K's Policy and Dissemination Advisor, gave a presentation on “Copyright in Africa” at a multi-stakeholder workshop hosted by the South African National Council for the Blind in Pretoria on 30 November.

At the same meeting, a Declaration in support of the World Blind Union’s proposed Treaty for Improved Access for Blind, Visually Impaired and other Reading Disabled Persons (referred to as the "TVI") was adopted. It was adopted by all the representatives and supporters of the blind and visually-impaired communities who were present, including Nicholson on behalf of ACA2K. For more information, see http://a2knetwork.org/support-access-knowledge-visually-impaired and http://www.shuttleworthfoundation.org/our-work/blogs/treaty-visually-impaired



Denise Nicholson
16 December 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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2009.11.18 13:49:33

Two members of the ACA2K project -- Dr. Bassem Awad of the ACA2K Egypt Research Team and ACA2K Policy and Dissemination Advisor Denise Nicholson -- were invited by WIPO and the Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Geneva, to speak at the African-Arab Regional Seminar on "Copyright Limitations and Exceptions: Addressing the Needs of Affected Constituencies" held in Cairo on 2 November. This seminar was in preparation for the WIPO SCCR 19 Meeting to be held in Geneva in mid-December.

Awad presented on “Dissemination and Use of Copyrighted Works for Education.” He discussed the copyright environment in Egypt and presented the research findings of the ACA2K Research Team in Egypt.

Nicholson presented on “Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries, Archives and Museums.” She discussed the international and regional copyright trends affecting access to knowledge in Africa and stressed the need for more balanced and appropriate copyright limitations and exceptions for developing and least-developed countries in Africa. She also promoted eIFL’s model law, as well as the Statement of Principles on ‘Copyright Exceptions and Limitations for Libraries and Archives’, presented by eIFL/IFLA/LCA at WIPO SCCR 18 in May 2009. Nicholson encouraged delegates to support the WBU Treaty for the Blind, Visually Impaired and Reading Disabled, as well the international library community’s planned recommendations to the SCCR in December.

The seminar was officially opened and closed by Ambassador Naela Gabr, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for International Organisations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Egypt. Other WIPO dignitaries who welcomed delegates and gave brief introductory talks were Sherif Saadallah, Executive Director, Department of External Relations, WIPO, and Dr. Mohamed Nour Farahat, Director of the Copyright Protection Office, Cairo. WIPO Director-General Francis Gurry was not able to attend. See full list of WIPO officials and invited delegates, the programme and presentations.

A strong message came out of this seminar -- a message that it is crucial that the needs of developing countries be taken into account in international copyright frameworks and national copyright laws.

The day after the WIPO Cairo event, on 3 November, Nicholson represented IFLA's Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters (CLM) at WIPO's Third Stakeholders' Platform Meeting at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria. Issues connected to access to alternative formats for print-handicapped persons were discussed at this meeting.

Denise Nicholson

18 November 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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2009.10.02 14:52:40

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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