The 40th Session of the Administrative Council held in Harare, Zimbabwe from 5th to 7th December 2016, identified the need to adopt a Protocol on voluntary registration of Copyright and Related Rights under the ARIPO framework and hence approved a roadmap for the establishment of a Voluntary Registration and Notification system at ARIPO. In pursuance of the objective, a feasibility study, policy, and legal framework were developed.
Following approval by the 17th Session of the Council of Ministers for the Legal Framework on establishing a regional voluntary copyright registration and notification system to be formulated into a Draft Protocol for adoption, a Diplomatic Conference set to be held in Kampala, Uganda in July 2020. However, the Conference was rescheduled due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation.
The highly anticipated Diplomatic Conference is now scheduled to take place on the 27th and 28th August 2021 at the Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala, Uganda. The Diplomatic Conference will be preceded by an Experts’ meeting that will bring together Copyright experts from the ARIPO Member States on 20th and 21st August 2021 and the Eleventh Extraordinary Session of the Administrative Council of ARIPO from 22nd to 26th August 2021.
The draft Protocol, upon its adoption, will establish a Regional Voluntary Registration of Copyright and Related Rights and create and maintain a Regional Database for Copyright and Related Rights for the ARIPO Member States. This will benefit them in different ways, such as: enhancing an effective and efficient network between the National offices in charge of Copyright and Related Rights and the Regional office, providing an effective means of presumption as to authorship and or ownership, facilitating commercialization, stimulating more creativity, expanding markets, attracting foreign direct investment and facilitating the enforcement of rights.
In conclusion, ARIPO sees the need to nurture, promote and protect Copyright and Related Rights, which is vital to the growth of Intellectual Property (IP) and has enormous cultural, economic, and social implications for the community we live in. Hence, the voluntary registration of Copyright and Related Rights reassures business communities and opens doors for rights holders. The system will enable effective coordination between Copyright Offices, Collective Management Organizations, rights holders, and users of Copyright at large.