KEETMANSHOOP – There is a great need to review Namibia’s current copyright laws in order to provide more protection to intellectual property and local content in Namibia.
Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja, a national specialist for the Intellectual Property and Local Content (IPLC) project in Namibia, said this at Keetmanshoop this week during a consultative meeting attended by various stakeholders.
He said the current Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Protection Act, 1994 (Act No. 6 of 1994) is outdated and presents many gaps and loopholes, hence the necessity to have a comparative legal review on it as a matter of urgency.
Copyright is a form of intellectual property law that protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture.
Copyright protection is vital for the development and promotion of the creative industry.
The meeting is aimed to garner support for the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (Bipa) to revise the said Act of Parliament and to design measures that will support local content production in Namibia.
“Copyright and local content affect all of us in one way or the other as we either use it or create it,” Muushaandja said, adding that the general public, local artist, police, media, businesses and schools are the most important stakeholders to assist in fully implementing the project.
Muushaandja, an artist himself, said it is saddening that many Namibians will rather go to Edgars to buy clothes or pay big amounts of money to see famous South African artists performing instead of buying in on proudly Namibian manufactured clothing or supporting local, Namibian artists.
He said a big concern is that the various stakeholders operate in isolation instead of working together for their own benefit, while there is also a lack of public education on copyright and local content for artists and users.
A fact sheet on a comparative legal review on Namibia’s Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act as well as the Bipa draft Bill cite benefits of copyright for the creative and cultural industries as, amongst others the potential for wealth and job creation, the rights of local artists to sell or license their work and get needed recognition for it as well as to help maintain and keep a record of traditional and cultural heritage which at the end can be used by future generations.