In terms of the Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act, Chapter 26:05, Copyright means the exclusive legal right to produce, reproduce, copy, publish, sell or distribute the matter and form of something such as a literary, musical or artistic work, movies, sound recordings, paintings, computer programs and databases, industrial designs, choreography, photography, films, plays and sculptures.

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Rights provided by Copyright:

The original creators of works protected by Copyright and their heirs have certain basic rights. They hold the exclusive right to use or authorize others to use their work on agreed terms. The creator of a work can prohibit or authorize:

  •  its reproduction in various forms, such as printed publication or sound recording;
  •  its public performance, as in a play or musical work;
  •  recordings of it , for example, in the form of compact discs, cassettes or videotapes;
  •  its broadcasting, by radio, cable or satellite;
  •  its translation into other languages, or its adaptation, such as a novel into a screenplay.

Many creative works protected by Copyright require:
[a] mass distribution;
[b] communication and financial
investment for their dissemination.

For example, publications, sound recordings and films. In the result, creators often sell the rights to their works to individuals or companies best able to market the works in return for payment.

These payments are made dependent on the actual use of the work, and are then referred to as royalties.
In Zimbabwe, these economic rights start from the date of creation of the works and last up to 50 years beginning from  the owner`s date of death. This time limit enables both creators and their heirs to benefit financially for a reasonable period of time. Copyright protection also includes moral rights, which involve the right to claim authorship of a work, and the right to oppose it that could harm the creator’s reputation.
Copyright owners can enforce rights administratively and in the courts, by inspection of premises for evidence of production or possession of illegally made (pirated) goods related to protected works. The owner may obtain court orders to stop such activities as well as seek damages for loss of financial rewards and recognition

What is protected by Copyright Law?
Copyright protection extends only to the expressions and not to the ideas, procedures, and methods of operation or mathematical concepts themselves.

This augurs well with the Trips Agreement and the WIPO Copyright Treaty.
Creativity protected by Copyright law is creativity in the choice and arrangement of words, musical notes, colors, shapes and movements.

Examples of Copyrightable Works:

  • Text Books
  • Composite CD
  • Floppy discs

How does one benefit from Copyright ?

Owners derive their financial benefits for use of their works through the following rights:
4.Public performance
6.Communication to the public
7.Distribution and
8.Rental right

What are Related Rights ?
These are rights bordering around copyrighted works and provide similar shorter duration rights to:

  •  performing artists; such as actors and musicians – in their performances
  •  producers of sound recordings; for example , cassette recordings and compact discs- in their recordings;
  •  broadcasting organizations in their radio and television programs.

In other words, related rights are granted to users of Copyright works by original creators of such works.

Why protect Copyright ?
[a] Copyright and its related rights are essential to human creativity.
[b] They give creators incentives in the form of recognition and fair economic rewards.
[c] Creators are assured that their works can be disseminated without fear of unauthorized copying or piracy.
[d] In turn, this increases access to and enhances enjoyment of culture, knowledge and entertainment worldwide.

Copyright in the Advanced Technological Era.
Recently, Copyright has expanded enormously with technological progress bringing in new worldwide communication ways of spreading creations in the form of satellite broadcast and compact discs. Dissemination of works via the Internet is the latest development which raises new questions concerning Copyright. An international debate to shape new standards for Copyright protection in the cyberspace is in progress. This will be achieved through the use of the Internet treaties – which set down the international norms aimed at preventing unauthorized access to and use of creative works on the Internet or other digital networks.

Copyright Regulation In Zimbabwe ?
In Zimbabwe, Copyright does not depend on official procedures such as registration. Protection of created works is automatic with effect from date of creation of the works.
A voluntary deposit rule for created works is available. Three copies are stamped by a lawyer and the Copyright Registrar upon deposit. This is in harmony with The Berne Convention for the protection of Literary and Artistic Works.

Why register or deposit Copyright Works ?
 1.The system identifies and distinguishes titles of works.
 2.Registration serves as evidence in a court of law in Copyright dispute resolutions.
 3.Works create a databank for research purposes in different fields

Collective Management  Organizations.
Today, many owners of creative works lack the means to pursue the legal and administrative enforcement of Copyright in the face of increasing global use of literary, musical and performance rights.

 Consequently, Zimbabwe has a collecting society, Zimbabwe Music Rights Association, [ZIMURA] which collects and distributes musical royalties to registered members. On the other hand, ZIMCOPY, a reproduction rights organization [RRO] monitors the Copyright business in the country. These societies provide members with the benefits of the organization`s administrative and legal expertise in collecting, managing and disbursing royalties amassed from international use of a member`s creative work(s).

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