Are African copyright laws primed to deal with the growth of advertising and media in the digital sp



PWC has recently released its report on the entertainment and media outlook for 2015 through to 2019 for South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. PWCs report is currently the only source of comparable forecast consumer and advertising spend data for 11 industry segments across South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.


Highlights from the report include predictions on overall growth in the entertainment and media industry. Notably Nigeria’s entertainment industry is set to double its current valuation by 2019 with a valuation of US 8.1 billion dollars which is impressive considering the fact that the entertainment distribution channels in Nigeria are largely informal.


Of interest, was the forecast on the rise of internet revenues which PWC predicts will move far ahead of any other consumer spend category by 2019, leading to an increase in internet-access marketing in markets such as South Africa which currently spend R 32.5 billion to R.76.2 Billion in 2019. Of further interest, was PWCs prediction that by 2019, 90.7% of internet access revenues will come from mobile platforms across all three countries.

While the focus of advertising agencies is clearly moving into the digital sphere, one wonders whether the intellectual property regimes in Nigeria and Kenya that protect copyright and trademarks in traditional media are prepared to deal with infringement in the digital environment.


Cybersquatting and unauthorised use of IP in the digital environment are becoming areas of concern in the more developed markets with companies such as Twitter for example, having specific provisions governing businesses or individual impersonation and name squatting. Moreover, the increase of social media advertising brings up issues surrounding the rights of users, where advertisers use user generated content for the promotion of their brands on social media.


Recently the Nigerian Copyright Board sent out to the public for comments, a draft Copyright Bill set to replace the 2004 Copyright Act see our first look at the Bill here. The draft bill It sets out that one of its underlying objectives is to strengthen the copyright regime in Nigeria to enhance the competitiveness of its creative industries in a digital and knowledge based economy. Towards this, the draft has a section dedicated to copyright in relation to online content.


From the reading of the draft, the provisions of this section are in line and in some instances more advanced than most northern hemisphere jurisdictions in relation to protection of copyright online. In this instance, Nigerian copyright law is building a framework that will protect users and rights holders in the digital environment.


In contrast to the Nigerian situation is the recent proposed amendments to the Kenyan Copyright Act also put out for comments, see our summary here. The draft sent out to the public can be seen as a good start though it will likely need more input before it is passed to parliament.


For more information please contact Carole Theuri

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