Since the end of the 1960s, many African States have enacted legislation on
authors’ rights. Having acceded to the international copyright conventions,
these States have ensured in general that their laws are consistent with the
conventions. In these first few years of the 21st century, the legislative effort
has continued and a number of laws have been amended recently.
Nevertheless, the major principles of the protection of authors’ rights in
Africa have not changed. Two characteristic features can be noted: firstly, a
will to take account of Africa’s particular circumstances (both economic and
cultural) and, secondly, a concern to adapt to the global market and to
However, despite the fact that these principles are clearly affirmed in most
African States’ laws and in the Bangui regional agreement, they are not always
enforced in practice. Although collective management is establishing itself
progressively in some States, remedies and penalties are seldom applied, with
the result that infringers can blithely ignore the law of copyright.
A brief look at the African laws on authors' rights reveals two recurrent features. These laws reflect the influence of European droit d'auteur and copyright systems and at the same time a consideration of cultural and economic interests that are c o m m o n to all the countries of the African continent. Two trends can be distinguished in the present evolution of copyright law in Africa: firstly, modernisation in the spirit of European or American laws, under the impetuso f rules that have been adopted at the international level and, secondly, the assertion of a cultural identity and an economic specificity. These two trends emerge clearly if one takes a glance at a
You can read more of this article in its downloable PDF version.