EIFL’s comments on Namibia’s draft Copyright and Related rights Bill

Comments submitted by EIFL to the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA), the body that administers IP rights in Namibia

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Position paper & statement
November 2021

Following a National Stakeholder Conference to discuss the new draft Copyright and Related Rights Bill under development in Namibia, EIFL submitted written comments on the Bill to the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA), the body that administers IP (Intellectual Property) rights in Namibia.

The existing Copyright Act (1994) has no explicit provisions for libraries or persons with disabilities. There are new exceptions for libraries, education, text and data mining and persons with disabilities. However there is a risk that the new exceptions, as currently drafted, fall short of addressing practical uses in the digital environment and they won’t be fully effective because they are hampered by conditions that are unnecessarily restrictive.

The omission of fair use (that appeared in previous draft versions of the Bill) or a fair dealing provision (that is in the existing Copyright Act, 1994) is also out of step with current developments. A flexible exception, such as fair use or fair dealing, helps to keep the law up-to-date with rapidly changing technologies, and with new ways of learning and sharing, and it accommodates uses not foreseen when the law was developed, such as the mass closure of schools, universities and libraries during a pandemic.

EIFL provided written comments, and suggestions for amendments, on five key areas in the Copyright Bill: education, libraries, fair use/fair dealing, persons with disabilities and duration of protection. We urged BIPA to embrace the digital environment for the benefit of rightsholders and users so that no-one is left behind.