High Court Upholds Citizens’ Right of Access to Information on Pro-Government #GOKDelivers, #JubileeDelivers Adverts: Judgment in Katiba Institute vs President’s Delivery Unit

‘We must appreciate as a nation that the right to access information is not a fringe right to other rights in the Bill of Rights. It is integral to the democracy conceptualized by our Constitution, in that it encourages public participation, abhors secrecy in governance and above all seeks to ensure that public power delegated to leaders is not abused.’ – Judge E.C Mwita, Katiba Institute v Presidents Delivery Unit & 3 others [2017] eKLR, at paragraph 57.

In a landmark judgment by the High Court in late 2017, Judge E.C Mwita in the case of Katiba Institute v Presidents Delivery Unit & 3 others [2017] eKLR found that the President’s Delivery Unit (PDU) and state officers working in the Office of the President were under both a constitutional and legal obligation to allow any citizen to access information in the State’s possession since it was held on behalf of the public. In this case, civil society organisation Katiba Institute (KI) had filed a constitutional petition challenging the decision of PDU not to provide information sought by KI relating to the #GOKDelivers and #JubileeDelivers advertisement campaigns (pictured above), including dates when advertisements were done, nature and copies of advertisements, cost of advertisements and who met the cost of those advertisements.

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WIPO Setting Up External Offices in Africa – What to Expect

On 14 December 2017, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Director General Francis Gurry and Ambassador Audu Ayinla Kadiri, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva (pictured above), signed an agreement establishing a WIPO External Office in Nigeria. Headquartered in Switzerland since 1967, WIPO is a self-funding agency of the United Nations, with 191 member states. WIPO is the global forum for intellectual property (IP) services, policy, information and cooperation. WIPO’s network of External Offices (currently in Brazil, China, Japan, Russia and Singapore) are intended to provide cost-effective support services in relation to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), Madrid and Hague systems; arbitration and mediation; collective management; and development and capacity building. In a fast-changing world, WIPO reckons that its External Offices are an increasingly important part of the Organisation’s enhanced engagement with its Member States, partners and stakeholders, on the ground, to lead the development of a balanced and effective international IP system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all.

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12 Reasons to Apply for CopyrightX in Kenya: The GoDown Arts Centre and Code IP Trust

CODE IP Trust and the GoDown Arts Centre in Nairobi are members of the CopyrightX community, a growing network of affiliated courses offered by various institutions around the world each year. CopyrightX is a twelve-week networked course, offered from January/February to April/May each year under the auspices of Harvard Law School, the HarvardX distance-learning initiative, and the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society.  The course explores the current law of copyright mainly in the US and Kenya but also elsewhere in the world; the impact of that law on art, entertainment, and industry; and the ongoing debates concerning how intellectual property (IP) law should be reformed. Through a combination of recorded lectures presented by leading IP scholar Prof. William Fisher, assigned readings, weekly classroom seminars, participants taking the course in Nairobi examine and assess the ways in which the copyright system seeks to stimulate and regulate creative expression.

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Intellectual Property Collateralisation in the Age of the Movable Property Security Rights Act: The Case of Nakumatt Supermarkets

By Victor B. Nzomo & Perpetua N. Mwangi**

Nakumatt Holdings Limited (Nakumatt) is the proprietor of the largest supermarket retail chain in East and Central Africa. According to Superbrands, Nakumatt is one of the leading brands in East Africa with branches in Kenya Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. However the biggest story of 2017 has been the financial woes of Nakumatt with the retail chain facing liquidation over unpaid debts totaling over Sh30 billion. From an intellectual property (IP) perspective, Nakumatt’s brand power is based on its portfolio of over 23 registered trade marks including word marks, logos and slogans all currently subsisting on the Register of Trade Marks. This blogpost departs from the premise that the recent enactment of the Movable Property Security Rights Act was envisaged to allow individuals or businesses like Nakumatt to leverage their IP assets to access much-needed financing.

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2017 Highlight: New Path-Breaking Research on Competition Law in Kenya

In 2017, Kenya became the first country in Africa to adopt specific legislative provisions on ‘buyer power’ through the competition law framework. According to Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK), abuse of buyer power is an emerging competition issue in the Kenyan economy particularly in the retail sector because of the failure of buyers to honor their contractual obligations with their suppliers. As such, the Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2016 proposed the introduction of new provisions on buyer power under Section 24 of the Act (on Abuse of Dominance). The Bill was signed into law on 23 December 2016 and it took effect from 13 January 2017.

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Comments on Draft Copyright Amendment Bill 2017

The Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2017 is currently pending before Parliament (Committee stage). In the Bill, there are 13 areas of changes to the Copyright Act identified as follows: Definitions; Functions of the Board; Composition of the Board; Qualifications of Executive Director; Copyright and Related Rights (Exclusive Licensing); Artist Resale Right; Copyright in Broadcasts; Rights of performers (Royalty Collection); Infringement (Intermediary Liability); Collective administration of copyright; Copyright Tribunal; Exceptions and Limitations (Fair Dealing). A copy of the Bill is available here. This blogpost will briefly highlight some of the areas of concern arising from the proposed amendments.

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Biometrics Demystified and the Committee on Communication, Information and Innovation

Recently, a text from a local telecommunications company inquired whether its subscribers knew that they could now enroll their voice so they could access various services securely and conveniently. This added a further dynamic to the on-going debate in several quarters on the accelerated adoption of biometrics in Kenya. Does Kenya have the necessary framework in place to safeguard the privacy and security of its citizens? The reality is, innovators will not wait for an optimal legal environment; with agile technologies, time is of the essence. But what are biometrics anyway? Whether it is voice or facial recognition, our researcher Francis Monyango has developed some engaging infographics to help a) demystify biometrics and b) trace the history of biometrics in Kenya. This accompanies our policy brief on forthcoming research and which our partner Privacy International published on their blog here.

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Internet Governance Forum 2017 Recap

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a global multistakeholder forum that promotes discussions and dialogue about public policy issues related to the Internet. It was first convened in 2006 by the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General. With the renewal of its mandate by the UN General Assembly in December 2015, the IGF has consolidated its position as a platform for bringing together members of various stakeholder groups as equals. While there is no negotiated outcome, the IGF informs and inspires those with policy-making powers in both the public and private sectors. Delegates hold discussions, exchange information and share good practices with each other at the annual meetings. The 12th annual meeting of the IGF took place between 18 and 21 December 2017 at the UN Office at Geneva in Switzerland. This blogger was fortunate to make his maiden appearance at this year’s IGF.

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Internet Governance Forum 2017 Day 4

On the last day of #IGF2017, only the able few were left as the number of participants dramatically dropped. The first session of the day was on: ‘Exploring Implications of Big and Artificial Intelligence for Knowledge Societies and SDGs’ was organised as an open forum by UNESCO to trigger debates and reflections on the human rights and other implications of big data and artificial intelligence (AI) on building inclusive knowledge societies and achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

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Internet Governance Forum 2017 Day 3

The third day of #IGF2017 was unique since two of the five sessions attended were on the cybersecurity theme. The first session kicked off at 9:00am on: ‘Legal challenges in cloud forensics and cross-border criminal and counterterrorism investigations’. In an era of pervasive commercial encryption and the critical state of law enforcement inability access to data at rest, cloud information has become more vital for successful prosecution in criminal investigations. Companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft, are experiencing increasing requests from law enforcement globally for access to user information and content. How these requests are received, interpreted, approved or denied, vary depending on laws from the originating nation and the specific format and nature of the request.

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