The Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe (“Sao Tome & Principe”) has consistently been adopting new laws and acceding to international treaties to ensure increased recognition and protection of intellectual property, and specifically copyright.
In this regard, Sao Tome & Principe signed and acceded to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works in March 2016.
To expand on the existing law, regulated by Decree-Law no. 4698 of 23 February 1972 that approves the Code of Copyright, given the advances in technology with the passage of time, the Copyright and Related Rights Code, Decree Law No. 02/2017 was adopted and came into force in April 2017.
Most recently, on 15 October 2020, Sao Tome & Principe deposited its instrument of ratification of the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances, which deals with the intellectual property rights of performers in audiovisual performances. The Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances will enter into force in Sao Tome & Principe on 15 January 2021.
The adoption of the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances means, inter alia, that specific economic and moral rights of performers, both in relation to audiovisual fixations, such as motion pictures, and unfixed performances, such as live performances, are recognized. It also provides for limitations and exceptions, which may be applicable to more traditional copyright in terms of the Berne Convention, to be extended, as appropriate, to the digital environment.
Also, on 15 October 2020, Sao Tome & Principe deposited its instrument of ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled (“the Marrakesh Treaty”). The Marrakesh Treaty will also enter into force in Sao Tome & Principe on 15 January 2021.
The Marrakesh Treaty is primarily aimed at creating a set of mandatory limitations and exceptions for the benefit of the blind, visually impaired and otherwise print disabled, or persons with a physical disability that prevents them from holding or manipulating a book. It requires members of the Treaty to introduce a standard set of limitations and exceptions to copyright laws in order to allow reproduction, distribution and availability of published works in formats designed to be accessible by blind, visually impaired and otherwise print disabled persons. It also allows for the exchange of these works across borders by organisations that serve those beneficiaries.