By Charles Satumba, Documentation and Communications Associate
In 2002, ARIPO got the mandate to promote the development of copyright and related rights in its Member States and to ensure that it contributes to the economic, social and cultural development of not only the Member States but of Africa as a whole (Article III (i) of the Lusaka Agreement). Since then, ARIPO has carried out several initiatives with the support of the Member States and strategic partners such as the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations (IFRRO), the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
One area that ARIPO, with assistance from the partners, has striven to develop and strengthen is the capacity of existing CMOs in the Member States and the development of new ones. When ARIPO received the mandate on copyright and related rights in 2002, there were only 10 established CMOs in 9 of the ARIPO Member States. Almost 20 years later, the number of CMOs has grown to 23 CMOS in 15 ARIPO Member States. On the part of Member States, the relevant copyright and related rights legislations have been put in place to facilitate the establishment of CMOs in their jurisdictions. Although this seems quite commendable, ARIPO believes collectively, much more can be achieved. On that note, ARIPO is working closely with cooperating partners to facilitate the establishment of CMOs in the remaining Member States and provide technical support to capacitate the existing ones.
In August 2021, ARIPO, with overwhelming support from its Member States, adopted the “Kampala Protocol on Voluntary Registration of Copyright and Related Rights.” According to the Director General of ARIPO, Mr. Bemanya Twebaze, when the Protocol comes into force, it will undoubtedly contribute to the collective growth of the creative industry with the benefits accruing to the rights holders. It will also assist in closing most of the existing gaps in the management and administration of copyright and related rights in the ARIPO region.
However, there is need to learn from other countries and systems that have thriving copyright management systems. ARIPO acknowledges that the issues are enormous and daunting. They range from delays in amendment of copyright laws and development of appropriate regulations; unwillingness by users to pay royalties; low awareness on copyright laws by users and the general public; piracy; administrative and governance issues; inadequate skilled resources; insufficient capacity to license educational institutions for reproduction rights organizations; lack of, or inadequate metadata to distribute royalties across borders; and lack of effective ICT infrastructure and software tools to administer rights in the digital environment, among many others.
Although raising many challenges, the digital environment must also be seen as bringing more opportunities for the creative sector. Globalization and the borderless nature of the internet increase markets for the creatives’ products. To begin with, there is need for constructive engagement with stakeholders to increase awareness and improve the current situation, wherein right holders and creators can benefit more from their creativity. The need for adequate responses to develop and transform the collective management of copyright and related rights systems in the ARIPO Member States and Africa is thus urgent.
A Comparative Study on Copyright Laws of ARIPO Member States (2018) showed that although all ARIPO Member States have relevant provisions in their Copyright Laws for the establishment of CMOs in their countries, some Member States are yet to establish them. ARIPO is thus looking forward to facilitating the establishment of CMOs in those Member States. To achieve this, ARIPO has put in place several initiatives that include the development of a tool, “Guidelines for the Development of a Business Plan for Collective Management Organizations in the ARIPO Member States.” This tool will inform the Member States and the public on how CMOs can operate as businesses and encourage the CMOs to develop strategic business plans to guide their operations. A good business plan will help the CMOs exploit new developments and trends in the creative sector under the digital environment.
ARIPO also conducted and published “The ARIPO Online Collective Management Organizations Survey.” The survey report points towards the need for ARIPO and partners to continue offering technical support to facilitate growth, effectiveness and efficient operationalization of the CMOs in the Member States. National legislative frameworks need to be reviewed from time to time to ensure that they are relevant to the obtaining environment for effective CMOs operations.
Other publications published by ARIPO on which CMOs can leverage on include “Copyright Awareness Raising Guide for ARIPO Member States,” “Guidelines to Audiovisual Contracts,” “Guidelines to Contracts: Music Genre,” and “Guidelines to Contracts: Literary Works.” These are useful resources aimed at promoting general awareness on copyright and capacitating the creators with information on how to negotiate good contracts that benefit them from their creativity.
Follow this link to read and download the several publications that ARIPO has published on Copyright and Related Rights, including some on CMOs including the tool. https://www.aripo.org/copyright-publications/.
ARIPO (2021). The ARIPO Online Collective Management Organizations Survey Report. https://www.aripo.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/The-ARIPO-Online-Collective-Management-Organizations-Survey-Report.pdf
ARIPO (2021). Guidelines for the Development of a Business Plan for Collective Management Organizations in ARIPO Member States.