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During the 25th Administrative Council Session held in Accra, Ghana in November 2001 the Republic of Malawi made a proposal to extend the mandate of African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) to include Copyright and Related Rights to enable ARIPO coordinate copyright and related rights at regional level. ARIPO has since taken steps to implement the mandate through policy development, capacity building and advocacy. At the Fortieth Session of the Administrative Council that took place in Harare, Zimbabwe on 5 to 7 December 2016, the Council approved the roadmap for the establishment of a voluntary copyright registration and notification system of ARIPO.

This decision requires that the Secretariat of ARIPO first undertakes a feasibility study and development of policy framework for the system. The feasibility study aims to establish the technical, economic and financial, institutional and managerial, environmental and socio-cultural, and operational aspects of the System at ARIPO. The feasibility study will be done in six countries, namely: Ghana, the Gambia, Malawi, Namibia, Kenya and Zambia.

The study will look at various issues including: the nature, number and type of beneficiaries and other stakeholders that the Voluntary Copyright Registration & Notification System of ARIPO will potentially affect;
All Member states, organisations and agencies impacted on by or involved in the Voluntary Copyright Registration & Notification System of ARIPO; All major problems experienced by the supposed beneficiaries and by any other parties likely to be involved, the causal interrelationships of these problems, and the inter-sectoral links; Other interventions or priorities by any Member State, national organization or donor which may be affected by the Voluntary Copyright Registration & Notification System of ARIPO; Appropriate technology, technical matters and technical assistance; Institutional and management capacity and arrangements, public and private; Economic and financial aspects; and Development of Policy framework from the feasibility study.

ARIPO intends for the feasibility study and development of Policy Framework for the Voluntary Registration and Notification System to be completed by end of May 2017.