Namibia: Copyright and Related Laws in the Spotlight

Regulation & Policy

Namibia should consider the possibility of commissioning a research programme to determine the value of the copyright industry and its contribution to the economy.

This is according to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Mbeuta Ua-Ndjarakana, who was addressing delegates from 25 countries across the world currently attending a copyright and related rights in the global economy course that started yesterday in Swakopmund. The course is organised by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the Swedish government with assistance from the Copyright Office in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT). The week-long course is attended by representatives from countries such as Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, China, Egypt, Namibia and South Africa to name a few and delegates will discuss issues such as the intellectual property system, as well as the challenges and complications of copyright laws in various countries. The course is hosted to promote the effective protection and use of intellectual property throughout the world by creating an environment and infrastructure conducive to an enhanced understanding of the contribution of intellectual property to human life through economic, social and cultural development. Its aim is also to assist developing and least developed countries in capacity-building for greater access to, and use of, the intellectual property system.

According to the information ministry piracy is an intellectual property problem that cuts across movies, books, music and software, however there are still so many people who down-play the importance of copyright, because they do not understand the economic impact infringement can cause to the economy and the creator of the intellectual property.

"However, as government and custodians of copyright issues we have the responsibility of educating the public how piracy hurts the creator and developers and how it can lead to financial repercussions. We know how complex copyright and related rights are, the challenges that befalls the copyright industry almost on a daily basis, especially in view of digital technology which is constantly threatening the future of copyright industries in the world particularly in developing countries," said the permanent secretary.

He pointed out that copyright is the corner stone of orienting and publishing music and creative activities in the service sector, such as advertising, the newspapers, television and radio.

"Few activities are as fundamental to the human species as copyright. It is central to every country's economic development in terms of job creation, value addition in terms of written musical compositions and artistic work, as well as films, multi-media products and computer programmes. Therefore, the link between copyright and economic development cannot be underestimated," he said.