July 8, 2019

Amendments to the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act

As part of a more rigid measure to protect creative works, the Tanzanian Government has recently amended the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act of 2002 (the Copyright Act) through the recently enacted Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amemdments) (no. 3) Bill of 2019 (the Bill). The new amendements prescribed under the Bill impose stringent fines on anybody who knowingly violates, or causes to be violated, the rights protected under the Copyright Act.

This Intellectual Property briefing provides an overview of the relevant provisions of the Copyright Act that have been amended by the Bill.

No.

RELEVANT PROVISION

OVERVIEW

1.

Offences and legal sanctions (Section 42 of the Copyright Act)

Section 42 of the Copyright Act has been amended by Section 12 of the Bill by providing more stringent fines on anybody who violates the provisions of the Copyright Act.

These new fines (as indicated below) relate to infringements that are on a commercial basis:

  1. In relation to a first offence, the fine has been increased from TZS 5 Million (approx. USD 2,000) to a fine of not less than TZS 20 Million (approx. USD 8,600) or 30% of the value of the pirated copyright material, whichever is greater.
  2. In relation to any subsequent offence, the fine has been increased from TZS 10 Million (approx. USD 4,300)to a fine not less than TZS 30 Million (approx. USD 13,000) or 50% of the value of the pirated copyright material, whichever is greater.

In addition to the above, the Bill states that the court may order compensation to the right holder.

2.

Circumstances where additional punishment is imposed (Section 42 (1A) of the Copyright Act)

Where the offender is a legal person regulated by the Tanzania Communications Regulatoty Authority, the Bill proposes to amend the Copyright Act by further providing that such person may be subjected to suspension in accordance with the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Act.
3.

Compounding of offences (Section 42A of the Copyright Act)

The Bill proposes to add immediately after Section 42 of the Copyright Act a new Section 42A which deals with compounding of offences.

Under Section 42A of the Copyright Act, if a person admits in writing to commiting an offence under the Copyright Act, the Copyright Administrator (or a person authorised by the Copyright Administrator in writing) may, at anytime prior to the commencement of the proceedings by a court of competent jurisdiction, compound the offence  and order the person to pay:

  1. the sum of money together with all reasonable expenses incurred by the Copyright Society of Tanzania in connection with the offence; and
  2. all fees and charges which would have been due if the action had been authorised under the Copyright Act.

Further, if a person fails to comply with the  order provided above within the prescribed period, the Copyright Administrator:  

  1. shall, in addition to the sum ordered, require the offender to pay an interest at a rate prescibed under the regulations; and
  2. may enforce the order in the same manner as a decree of a court for the payment of the amount stated in the notification.