Hon. Henry Oryem Okello, State Minister for Foreign Affairs addressing the media at press briefing

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), with support from the Government of Uganda through the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office, is organizing a Diplomatic Conference for the Adoption of the Draft Protocol on Voluntary Registration of Copyright and Related Rights to take place in Kampala, Uganda from 20th to 28th August 2021 at Speke Resort in Munyonyo.

The Diplomatic Conference will be attended by Ministers in charge of Intellectual Property from the 20 ARIPO Members States, Heads of Industrial Property and Copyright and Related Rights Offices from the ARIPO Member States.

Today, the State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Henry Oryem Okello, the Deputy Attorney General Hon. Jackson Karugaba Kafuuzi & the URSB Registrar General, Mercy Kainobwisho addressed a media briefing about the upcoming conference at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala.

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“As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we are hopeful that the conference will enhance Uganda’s cooperation with Member states on issues related to Intellectual Property and Copyright. Studies by the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) show that the creative industry contributes greatly to GDP as well as employment to countries,” Hon. Henry Oryem said.

“I would like to congratulate the Ministry of Justice and the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) on this milestone and invite Ugandans to participate fully in this international event and follow proceedings across media platforms,” he added.

The Diplomatic Conference will be preceded by an Experts’ meeting that will bring together Copyright experts from the ARIPO Member States on 20 and 21 August 2021 and the 11th Extraordinary Session of the Administrative Council of ARIPO from 22 to 26 August 2021.

Hon. General Jeje Odongo while delivering his remarks said there were many opportunities for Uganda to reap from hosting the conference. “As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we are hopeful that the conference will enhance Uganda’s cooperation with Member states on issues related to Intellectual Property and Copyright. Studies by the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) show that the creative industry contributes greatly to GDP as well as employment to countries,” the Minister said.

The Attorney General on his part said the adoption of the protocol would support the country’s nascent creative industry. “It is very timely for Uganda to host this conference on copyright because the outlook is changing and the choices of employment are also different. We have a young population that has devoted itself to the arts and creativity industry. Through adoption of this protocol, Ugandans shall be able to have their works registered and protected internationally, benefit and earn from their works, enable Government to maintain a register of voluntary copyrighted works which ultimately will lead to better appreciation of the role of the creative industry in promotion of socio economy development.”

Mercy Kainobwisho, Registrar General gives her remarks during the media brief at the Uganda Media Centre.

The Protocol will establish a Regional Voluntary Registration of Copyright and Related Rights, create and maintain a Regional Database for Copyright and Related Rights for the ARIPO Member States.

The Registrar General on her part said having a regional voluntary registration of Copyright and Related Rights in Africa will contribute to a conducive environment to ensure respect for the copyrighted works. “Adoption of this protocol in Kampala gives visibility to Uganda and is also in line with the Government’s sustained plans to grow intellectual property & related rights for economic growth. As you may recall, Cabinet approved and passed the National Intellectual Property Policy in May 2019, and it was officially launched by H.E the President in September 2020. Realization of the objectives of the National IP Policy 2019 is very key. URSB has been engaging all stakeholders and providing knowledge needed as part of the implementation process.”

The regional voluntary registration of Copyright and Related Rights will also enhance cooperation between national copyright offices to achieve the Protocol’s purpose. The national registration systems often hold valuable information on creativity from legal and economic perspectives and provide statistics on authors, performers, right holders, and their works, recordings, and productions in their countries. The statistics are important to be included in the regional database thus contributing to the regional statistics on creative industries.

The ARIPO 20 Member States are Botswana, The Kingdom of Eswatini, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, The Kingdom of Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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