News and Updates

On Thursday 12th June 2014, the Kenya Copyright Board and Craft Afrika held the 10th edition of the Jumpstart Thursday titled “Copyright & Crafts: How To Protect Designs In The Crafts Sector”.

This discussion was timely as it came at a time when the Irish fashion designer, Penny Winter, had threatened a group of Kenyan women who make jewellery under the name Amani Craft, asking them to stop "making African jewellery and beads made from paper".

Among the panel of experts were Dr. Marisella Ouma, KECOBO Executive Director, Victor Nzomo, IP Kenya, Caroline Mbindyo, Kenya Film and Professional Association and Esther Clombaine.  In attendance were over seventy (70) Craftprenuers.
The event focused on a quote by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor that states;

"The primary objective of copyright is not to reward the labor of authors, but to promote the progress of science and useful arts”.

To this end, it means that copyright assures authors the right to their original expression, but encourages others to build freely upon the ideas and information conveyed by a work.  This result is neither unfair nor unfortunate.  It is the means by which copyright advances the progress of science and art.

Dr. Ouma reminded the Craftprenuers that once one has registered his/her work under copyright, the burden of proof shifts to the infringer to disprove ownership. She reminded the Craftprenuers that registration of works makes it easy for the board to prosecute cases in case of infringement.  She further added that once an idea has been put into any tangible form, it is automatically protected by copyright.

Dr. Ouma noted that whereas Trademark registration may take up to 6 months, Copyright registration takes only 7 days before a notification certificate is issued as proof of registration.

Mr. David Muriithi, a KECOBO Board Member, added that in this age of internet, one needs to understand their business model, weigh their costs versus their benefits of the business. He added that Craftprenuers needed to discuss issues on valuation of their work and also about financing. Thus he called on the Craftprenuers to engage Intellectual Property lawyers before engaging in any binding agreements as such a move could make the difference between a lifetime protection of works or the loss of millions in royalties.

A follow up to this event will be held in another Jumpstart Thursday on the 14th August 2014 at Shalom House, Ngong Road, Nairobi.