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An East Africa Regional Seminar on: Copyright Enforcement in the Internet Era in Kenya

The United States Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO), Global Intellectual Property Academy (GIPA) hosted An East Africa Regional Seminar on: Copyright Enforcement in the Internet Era on May 19 - 21, 2009, in Nairobi, Kenya. More than 50 government officials comprised of judges, prosecutors, customs officials, copyright officials, and legislators from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Ethiopia participated in the 3 day event. Benjamin Hardman, an attorney with the USPTO's Office of Intellectual Property Policy & Enforcement, was the conference coordinator.

The conference got under way with opening remarks by Pamela Slutz, the Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi. She highlighted the important role that intellectual property protection can play in protecting Africa's unique cultural patrimony.

Benjamin Hardman provided an overview of copyright, which looked at the international obligations found in the Berne Convention and the TRIPS Agreement. The overview included a look at the subject matter of copyright, exceptions and limitations, issues related to ownership, and the term of protection. The conference next examined the technological developments that have changed the way creative works are created, distributed, and consumed, as well as the legal tools available to confront the challenges created by this new environment.

Throughout the conference, panels of experts comprised of the conference participants were formed to provide a perspective from a particular field and country experience.

Simon Wainaina led the final discussion of the day which outlined the challenges faced by the creative industries.

The second day was devoted to copyright enforcement. Benjamin Hardman outlined the U.S. civil and criminal systems while a panel of judges and prosecutors provided their individual and country experiences.

The final day of the conference began with a look at the U.S. customs experience. James Dozier, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) attaché with the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, provided an overview of U.S. border enforcement. This was followed by the panel of customs officials that explored the challenges and country specific experiences of the panelists.

The panel of legislators looked at the state of the law and highlighted areas where the Members of Parliament thought improvements could be made.

Paula Pinha, an attorney with the U.S. Copyright Office, closed out the final day of the conference with a discussion of secondary liability for copyright infringement and Internet service provider liability. She explored the different theories of secondary liability for copyright infringement and included a study of various U.S. cases and additional examples. On Internet service provider liability, she explained the relevant provisions of the U.S. law, including the requirements for eligibility and limitations on liability provided by the law. A discussion of specific U.S. cases illustrated how the provisions worked in practice.

United States Patent and Trademark Office
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Last Modified: 10/15/2009 8:22:37 AM