Copyright Law and Its Use as Property: Lessons for the Creative Arts Sector in Tanzania.
Copyright is one class of Intellectual Property that is legally recognised and protected in Tanzania. This protection is anchored in both Tanzania’s international commitments and the country’s domestic laws, which, however, remain hardly known in the creative industry and innovative sector of the country. The international protection of copyrights is also enshrined in the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT), 1996, WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), 1996, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Artistic and Literary Works, 1886 and the Treaty Establishing the East African Community, 1999. At the domestic level, protection is guaranteed by the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1977, the Cyber Crimes Act, 2015 and the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act, 1999 as well as the attendant regulations made under these laws. Lately in Tanzania, there have been growing concerns among authors, innovators and the general public about the real economic significance of these copyright laws and regulations to the authors’ welfare and the national economy at large. This article argues that these concerns are a direct consequence of factors such as lack of requisite legal knowledge on the part of most artists on the economics inherent in dealing with copyright properties, lack of a litigation culture in cases of infringements and the complex nature of copyright infringements in the digital environment, including online piracy. Against this backdrop, this article serves as an “eye-opener” to those in the creative arts industry to enable them to understand the basics of copyright law so that they can benefit from their works. It also seeks to serve as “mind provoker” to other scholars interested in this subject matter and wish to further write on the subject matter or on other branches of Intellectual Property.