Menu Close

What is copyright

Copyright is a branch of Intellectual Property which gives an author of an original    literary and artistic work exclusive rights to authorize or prohibit the use of his works for a limited time period. Copyright protects expressions of ideas but not ideas themselves. Let us take an example of ten people who independently think about writing a poem about the beauty of the Okavango Delta. The beauty of the Okavango Delta is an idea which no one can claim a monopoly over, but each person will be granted protection for how they expressed this idea in the poem.

Copyright protects the original expression of ideas irrespective of their quality (i.e. whether it is good or poor quality) or the tangible medium upon which they are fixed.  The exclusive right subsist for a limited period of time.  The following are examples of works protected by copyright: books, pamphlets, architectural drawings, musical compositions with or without words; cinematographic works, drawings, paintings, sculptures, photographic works, works of applied art, poems, Computer programs etc.

Neighbouring Rights

Neighbouring rights (also called related rights) are intellectual property rights provided for the protection of the legal interests of certain individuals and legal entities who contribute in making works available to the public. Such rights include:

The rights of Performers: This grants performers the right to authorize or prohibit others from fixing their performances, reproducing fixed performances, communicating and making available to the public fixed performances. Examples of performers are singers, actors, dancers etc.

The rights of producers of phonograms: Copyright law grants producers of sound recordings the right to authorize or prohibit third parties from reproducing, importing, adapting and making available to the public works they produced.

The right of broadcasting organizations:  Broadcasting organizations have a right to authorize or prohibit re-broadcasting, fixation, reproduction of fixations and communication to the public of their broadcasts. 

Rights Granted by Copyright laws

Copyright laws give the author or the owner of a protected work two types of rights:

  1. Economic rights: These rights allow the author of a work to derive economic benefits from the use of his works. The Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act of Botswana grants the owner of a literary or artistic work the right to prohibit or authorize:
  • the reproduction or copying of a work;  
  • the distribution of copies of a protected work;
  • public performance of a work;
  • the broadcasting or other communications to the public of work;
  • translation of the work into another language(s);
  • adaptation of a work e.g. taking a novel and making screenplay out of it;
  • importation of a protected work;
  • rental or public lending;
  • public display of an original or copy of a protected work.  

2. Moral rights:   The Berne Convention gives the author of the work:

  •  the right of paternity, that is, the right to claim authorship of the work or the right to be identified as the creator of a work;
  • the right to remain anonymous and the right to use pseudonyms.
  • the right of integrity, that is, the right to object to any distortion, or modification of the work or other derogatory action in relation to the work which will be prejudicial to the author’s honour or reputation. 
Protect your brand from copycats, pirates and counterfeiters. Email to find out how.
+ +