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2010.11.23 14:34:44

ACA2K Lead Researcher Dr. Dick Kawooya was in Geneva from 6 to 8 November to work 
on copyright matters with negotiators from the African Union (AU) and the WIPO African Group (AG) nations.

The AU and the AG are drafting a treaty proposal on copyright limitations and exceptions (L&Es) for libraries,
archives, education and individuals with visual impairments. This proposal is to be considered as part of WIPO's ongoing
discussions around the possibility of an international treaty on L&Es.

is one of the African experts invited by the AU and the AG to help African negotiators
prepare for the next round of WIPO negotiations on this matter.

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2010.08.26 08:01:27

A book outlining the ACA2K network's research findings on the relationship between copyright and learning materials access in Africa was launched at this year's Cape Town Book Fair. The launch featured a panel discussion with three members of the ACA2K research network: Dr. Marisella Ouma of Kenya and Pria Chetty and Dr. Tobias Schonwetter of South Africa. The workshop was hosted by the book's publisher, UCT Press, and Dr. Constance Freeman, IDRC's Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, acted as the panel moderator.
Following some general remarks by Freeman, Schonwetter briefly introduced the ACA2K project to the audience. Thereafter, Ouma explained some of the international dynamics of copyright protection, particularly the role of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), and summarised the key findings from the Kenyan ACA2K research activities. Chetty subsequently spoke about some of the most important research findings from South Africa, and Schonwetter concluded the panel discussion by highlighting general trends that emerged from ACA2K's research in all eight African study countries, and offering recommendations as to how some of the most pressing problems could best be addressed.

In his presentation, Schonwetter emphasised, among other things, that Africa does not need stronger copyright laws because copyright laws in all eight study countries already fully comply with international copyright standards and in some instances even exceed these, eg, in as far as the copyright terms in Ghana, Mozambique and Senegal are concerned. At the same time, however, the scope of educational exceptions and limitations generally and for libraries and archives in particular is unclear, especially in the digital environment. Distance education or e-learning is not mentioned in any of the study countries' copyright laws and only Uganda's copyright law makes specific mention of the needs of disabled persons. Schonwetter also stressed that the copyright laws on the books in the study countries are so far removed from the day‐to‐day realities facing education systems in the study countries that enforcement is practically impossible if the existing moderate levels of learning materials access are to be preserved. Copyright-holders must also start to acknowledge that copyright laws that cannot be followed by the majority of society can generate resentment towards the underlying principles and thus undermine the respect for copyright on the whole. Ultimately, stakeholders must work together to bridge the gulf between national copyright laws and prevailing (infringing) practices for accessing learning materials.

After the panel discussion, members of the audience were able to ask questions for about 20 minutes before Khaled Fourati of the IDRC and the Shuttleworth Foundation's Karien Bezuidenhout, in their respective closing remarks, expressed the project funders' delight with what the ACA2K project has achieved.

Posted by:
Dr. Tobias Schonwetter
ACA2K South Africa researcher
University of Cape Town (UCT)


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2008.11.12 10:29:11

Professor Kenneth Crews, Director, Copyright Advisory Office, Columbia University in the United States of America was commissioned by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to do an investigative study into the limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives for member countries of WIPO. The WIPO Study on Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives was published on the 26 August 2008.                   

  statutory provisions | archives | copyright exceptions for libraries | study
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2008.09.06 21:12:03

In its Press Release 2008/553 on 20 May 2008, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) announced the launch of a pilot programme to assist indigenous communities to document their own cultural traditions, archive this heritage for future generations, and safeguard their interest in authorizing use of their recordings and traditions by third parties.  

  Kenya | traditional knowledge | copyright | WIPO | intellectual property | indigenous knowledge | indigenous communities
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2008.09.04 10:19:07

Good news for developing countries! A new Think Tank in Geneva, called IQsensato, has been set up to provide a platform for leading thinkers, researchers and IP experts in developing countries to discuss and debate key intellectual property and related issues.

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2008.08.16 16:21:33

Dick Kawooya and I co-authored a paper entitled "The impact of Copyright on access to public information in African countries: a perspective from Uganda and South Africa", by invitation from Mr. Paul Sturges, Chair of IFLA's Committee on Free Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE).  ACA2K project was mentioned in the paper to alert conference delegates, particularly Africans, to the research being done on copyright and access to learning materials in 8 African countries.

  copyright | IFLA | IFLA CLM | IFLA Committee on Copyright and Oth
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2008.08.16 15:39:47

On 12 July 2008, ACA2K project members, Dick Kawooya, Denise Nicholson, Achal Prabhala and Tobias Schonwetter attended the Commonwealth of Learning's Intellectual Property Workgroup's meeting in London. This meeting set the scene for the Copyright Session held on 14 July 2008 at the 5th Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning held at the University of London (13th -17th July 2008).  For details on the PCF5 programme, see: PCF5 . Keynote sessions and presentations can be found at PCF5 Wiki

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2008.08.01 06:43:28

The Library of Congress National Digital Infrastructure and Preservation Program, the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), the Open Access to Knowledge (OAK) and the SURFfoundation recently published the

International Study on the Impact of Copyright on Digital Preservation.

  intellectual property | copyright | digital preservation | Africa | libraries | educational institutions
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2008.06.20 11:33:13

South African Intellectual Property Amendment Bill, 2007

(Traditional Knowledge)

Who really benefits?

The Department of Trade and Industry published the Intellectual Property Amendment Bill, 2007, on 5 May 2008, in the Government Gazette, Vol. 515, No. 31026, calling for public comment by 15 June 2008 (see: http://www.dti.gov.za/ccrd/ipbills.htm).

  traditional knowledge | indigenous knowledge | copyright; intellectual property | South African Copyright Act
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2008.06.20 11:27:11

South Africa's Cultural Laws Third Amendment Bill, 2007 -

Why have the needs of libraries, education and people with sensory-disabilities been ignored?

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2008.06.20 11:24:09

What is copyright?

Copyright is a category of intellectual property and a statutory monopoly for a limited period of time. It gives authors and creators a ‘bundle' of exclusive rights to control certain activities relating to, among other things, the use, reproduction, public performance and dissemination of their original works, including literary, musical and artistic works, cinematograph films, sound recordings and published editions. Computer programs usually fall under the category of literary works but under South African Copyright law, they are treated as a separate category.

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2008.06.20 11:23:02

The ACA2K network has just finalised its Methodology Guide, which is a roadmap for the project's research and policy engagement between now and early 2010. You can view the Guide at http://www.aca2k.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=52&Itemid=61

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2008.06.20 11:21:55


There has been an ongoing struggle between rights-holders and users of information over several years with regard to copyright matters.  Developed countries are promoting stricter copyright regimes and longer terms of protection which far exceed the minimum requirements of international copyright treaties. Developing countries, on the other hand, are calling for more balanced and appropriate copyright regimes to enable them to pursue their development policies.


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2008.06.20 11:20:00

Why is it necessary for the South African Copyright Act to be amended?

The South African Copyright Act No. 98 of 1978 has been amended from time to time since 1978, but Section 13 Regulations which include provisions for libraries and education, have not been amended to date.  The Act and its Regulations are outdated and they do not address the digital environment, nor do they take advantage of appropriate limitations and exceptions ("legal flexibilities") allowed in international intellectual property agreements.

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