Copyright in Africa
Copyright comes into existence the moment that a copyrightable work is created in material form. In terms of the Berne Convention the protection afforded in one Berne Convention country is extended to owners in other countries as well. The definition of protected works in terms of the Berne Convention includes literary and artistic works.
In terms of the South African Copyright Act no. 98 of 1978 the copyrightable works are defined as literary works, musical works, artistic works, cinematograph works, sound recordings, broadcasts, programme-carrying signals, published editions and computer programs. Although an owner does not have to take any steps to protect his/her copyright, we are in a position to advise clients in respect of proactive steps to ensure that the copyright subsists in the appropriate entity and we can assist with the transfer of ownership in copyright, commercial arrangements related to the exploitation and enforcement thereof.
A number of African countries are also signatories to the Berne Convention, but the manner in which the principles of the Berne Convention was taken up in their local legislation might differ slightly between the various jurisdictions. We can again assist clients in copyright matters through our trusted network of local African agents.
Smit & Van Wyk provides a full range of Intellectual Property legal services in all African countries where protection is available. We can provide information on the filing requirements in each of the African countries and can also offer information on the various regional IP organisations such as ARIPO, OAPI and the Madrid protocol. We work with a network of trusted and knowledgeable agents to develop the best possible solution to each of our clients’ needs for trade marks, designs and patents in Africa.
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