The Namibian Business and Intellectual Property Authority (“BIPA”) has announced that it is in the process of developing a new legal framework for copyright protection in Namibia. This will, as a result, lead to a repeal of the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act 6 of 1994 (“the current Copyright Act”).
The news has been welcomed, in particular, by Namibian creatives, including musicians, artists, publishers and film-makers, who currently enjoy little or no protection against the exploitation of the works on online platforms.
Following consultations with the relevant stakeholders, BIPA, together with the Ministry of Industrialization and Trade, developed the first working draft of the proposed copyright legal framework in Namibia. The working draft recognises the deficiencies in the current Copyright Act brought about by global shifts towards digitalisation.
The draft bills seeks to address the deficiencies in in the existing legislation by creating new categories of copyright-protected works. The success of the initiative will largely depend on how those works are defined and whether the legislation ultimately includes provisions aimed at facilitating proof of copyright ownership in the works.
On 17 February 2021, BIPA circulated the first working draft version of the proposed copyright legislation to all interested parties for consideration and comment.
While this is certainly the beginning of the process, the future of copyright protection in Namibia, amidst the ever-changing global digital landscape, looks promising.
Adams & Adams, together with its Namibian associates, are excited to be included in the comment phase of this process and we will be submitting our comments on the proposed copyright legislation for consideration by BIPA in March 2021.