The Copyright Services Unit is tasked with the responsibility of granting authors, artists and other creator’s legal protection for their literary and artistic creations in terms of the Namibian Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act, Act No. 6 of 1994. The same Act also provides for rights similar or identical to those of copyright, known as related rights to benefits actors and musicians, producers of sound recordings, as well as broadcasting organisations in their radio and television programmes. Works covered under this Act are inter-alia novels, poems, plays, computer programmes, databases, films, musical compositions, reference works, paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architecture, advertisement, maps and technical drawings.
What is meant by Copyright?
Copyright is the body of laws which grants authors, artists and other creators protection for their literacy and artistic creations, which are generally referred to as works. These works include works such as:
- Poems and plays
- Musical works
- Artistic works such as drawings, photographs and sculptures and architectural designs and computer programs
A closely associated field of rights related to copyright is called “related rights” These rights include those performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms and television programs
When does infringement occurs?
- Uses infringement materials, for example, an illegal downloaded song or film
- Possession of unauthorised copies with a view to sell or hire them to other people (commercial intentions)
- Publishing someone else’s original work and claim ownership
- Distributes unauthorised copies of software packages, books, music, games and films impacting negatively on the right-holders business.
Development and Enforcement of Policies/Legislations
MICT is the legal custodian of Namibia’s Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Protection Act , Act 6 of 1994. Therefore, the Copyright Office has responsibility of granting legal protection to creators through development and enforcement of national Copyright law. This law creates conducive environment for creation of software, music, literature and other works, by ensuring that the creator will be able to reap the benefits of their work. We are currently at an advanced stage of amending the Act to accommodate new developments, resulting from new technological changes. This ensures that Namibia complies with International Conventions and Treaties.
Namibia is a member/signatory to the following international Conventions and treaties:
- Berne Convention of 1886 for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
- The World Trade and Related Aspect of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement 1994 (TRIPS)
- World Intellectual Property Organisation 1967 (WIPO)
- WIPO Copyright Treaty 1996 (WCT)
- WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty 1996, (WPPT)
Copyright Office is to respond to enquiries and requests from the public for information on copyright law. Lastly, the office is responsible for issuing of registration certificates to copyright holders wishing to register their claim to copyright protection. Although copyright is automatic (Berne Convention), its registration has powerful benefits for it allows a copyright infringement suit to be possible. If your creation not registered you cannot enforce it in the court of law.
The following are the requirements for registration of a creation for copyright:
- Copy of an example/specimen for magazine/newspaper or a lay-out of the newspaper/magazine (framework).
- Identification documents (i.e. National ID / Passport / Driver’s License).
- If possible, but not compulsory, the company’s registration document approved by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
- NB: The prescribed registration fee is N$150.00 and this payment should be effected only after the application has been approved by the Permanent Secretary and the certificate is endorsed.
- WARNING: In terms of Section (5) of the International Security Act (Act 44 of 1950), the registration of publications shall lapse if printing or publishing are not commenced within one month after the date of registration.
Rights protected by Namibian Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Protection Act
Economic Rights :
These are rights of reproduction, right of public performance of dramatic, musical works, broadcasting by wire; public recitation; right of adaptation/derivatives and right of distribution, the right to transmit in a diffusion service, the right to publish works, the right to display works.
These are rights to ownership. Rights of paternity. The creators can chose not to sign their names (remain anonymous) or to sign a fictional name (use a pseudo name) on their works. They may also object to any changes to their works, which could damage the creator’s honour or reputation.
The creators of works, their heirs and successors are protected by Copyright ( generally referred to as “right-holders”) They have a basic right under copyright law, for example, to have an exclusive right to use the works, authorize others to use the work on agreed terms, but can also prohibit or authorize the following:
Reproduction of their works in all forms including publishing, printing and sound recording
- Public performance and communication to the public
- Adaptation i.e. novels into a screen play for a film or derivatives
Does the protection only apply to nationals/residents of Namibia?
Nationals/residents of Namibia are protected. Authors who are not nationals or residents of Namibia are also protected if: They first publish their works in a country which is a Berne Convention (1886) member or simultaneously publish their work in a non-member country and a member country of the Berne Convention.
Public Information and Education
Intellectual Property, including Copyright is a new concept to Namibia which is not easily understood, thus, the subdivision plays a key role in sensitizing the public through information sharing workshops and outreach programmes. A significant number of students and lecturers at some Higher Learning Institutions, including Teacher’sTraining Colleges at Ongwediva, Rundu, Caprivi, Ongwediva, Ogongo, Unam have benefitted. The sub division also collaboratively works with NASCAM and NAMRRO and make financial injection into information sharing workshops various stakeholders, including officials from Custom & Excise, Namibian Police Commercial Crimes Inspection Unit, Prosecutor General, the Namibian Judiciary, musical retailers, producers of books, book publishers, book sellers, as well as institutions of higher learning attend these workshops.
Another platform used to sensitise the public is 26 April (intellectual Property Day), each year when Namibia, being a member state of WIPO, joins the rest of the world to honour the tireless efforts endured by creators and producers of IP such as books, newspapers, computers, computer programmes, films, music, inventors trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications, in bringing us what had become essential commodities in our lives today. The IP day was declared by the General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in 1970.
Collection Management Organizations ( NASCAM & NAMRRO)
Namibia Reproduction Rights Organisation (NAMRRO)
To ensure the provision of collective management services to the rights holders in literary, artistic and dramatic works. This means that NAMRRO acts as a middle-man between the copyright owners in the their copyright works and the use of those works, especially when the users wish to exploit the works in question for any purpose that requires the copyright owner’s prior consent. NAMRRO.
Namibian Society of Composers and Authors of Music (NASCAM)
Administer the musical rights on behalf of the creators themselves. Most members become beneficiaries to royalty payments through NASCAM from the positive exploitation of their works by most local Radio Stations and Television Stations. It is very important to Authors and Composers of music to register with NASCAM. http://www.nascam.org NASCAM:For Further Enquiries Contact: Ms. Pamela Itewa Liaison Officer Tel: +264 61 299 4429 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org