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This blogger has received news that the Southern and Eastern Africa Copyright Network (SEACONET) is in the final stages of unveiling the final version of the sample draft law which was adopted during the SEACONET August 2012 meeting in Malawi.

Therefore unless any major changes are made between now and Friday, 30th November, 2012, the Malawi document will be the final sample draft law. A copy of this document is available here.

Comments:

The SEACONET text compares quite favouably with Kenya’s Copyright Act of 2001, the Copyright Regulations of 2004 and the Copyright Act Amendments of 2012. However Kenya’s copyright law should consider SEACONET’s refined definitions of “communication to the public” and “traditional cultural expressions” or “expressions of folklore”. Kenya may also consider including SEACONET’s definitions for “technological protection measures” and “circumvent the technological protection measures”. It must also be noted that certain key definitions have been omitted, namely: “anti-piracy security device”, “collective management organisation” and “copyright tribunal”.

The question of exceptions and limitations to copyright is an important aspect where Kenya must consider emulating the SEACONET model law. This Sample Model Law expressly provides for exceptions for visually impaired persons (provided that the work is not reasonably available in an identical or largely equivalent form enabling its perception by the visually impaired and the reproduction and distribution are made on a non-profit basis), limitations for reprographic reproduction in the case of quotation and teaching (must be compatible with fair practice and does not exceed the extent justified by the purpose), limitations for reprographic reproduction by Libraries and Archives (a single copy only), and an exception in the case of temporary reproduction (where it is done in the process of a digital transmission or an act of making a digitally stored work perceptible). However it is noted that no exceptions and/or limitations have been made in case of parody, pastiche and caricature.

Other important aspects that must be emulated from the SEACONET Model law including the following: express provision for copyright protection of derivative works, provision on the subject matter not protected by copyright, provision for waiver any of the moral rights in copyright and finally, provision for compulsory licensing of copyright and related rights.