Copyright Licenses & Assignments

Attorneys in Tanzania for Copyright Licenses & Assignments

Under Tanzania’s Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act, 1999 a copyright owner can either exploit its rights directly (for example, by selling copies a registered work) or indirectly (by giving the right to exploit a registered work to a third party). This indirect exploitation can be achieved in two primary ways: (i) by assigning the copyright, or (ii) by licensing the copyright to a third party. The Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act, 1999 sets out detailed rules for assigning and licensing copyrights in Tanzania. 

While an assignment transfers ownership of the assigned copyrights – such that even the author may be prohibited from exploiting the copyrighted work – a license grants a contractual right and does not pass title to the licensed rights or any copies of the copyrighted work.

Copyright Licenses: Exclusive or Non-Exclusive

Like design licenses, copyright licenses can be either exclusive or non-exclusive. A non-exclusive license may reserve rights for the copyright owner (who, except in cases of assignment, will generally be the author of the work), allow for granting of additional non-exclusive licenses to other third parties, or both. In order for a license to be exclusive, the license agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties, and the exclusivity must either be clearly stated in the license agreement or else obvious under the circumstances.

Copyright Licenses and Assignments: In Whole or In Part

Both copyright licenses and copyright assignments can be granted either in whole or in part. Copyright owners enjoy several exclusive rights – including the rights of reproduction, distribution, rental, public exhibition, translation, adaptation, public performance and broadcasting, and importation of copies – and they can license and assign these exclusive rights either individually or in gross. For example, a product designer may desire to license the right to reproduce and distribute his or her copyrighted work for commercial exploitation while retaining the right to create adaptations of the original design for future products.

Registration of Copyright Licenses and Assignments

Copyright licenses and assignments may be registered with the Copyright Administrator of the Copyright Society of Tanzania (COSOTA) or the Copyright Society of Zanzibar (COSOZA).  

Licensing and Assignment for Copyrighted Works That Are Also Registered Designs

While copyright law protects creative expressions of ideas, in some cases the works in which these ideas are expressed can also be protected as industrial designs. As a result, licensees and assignees of copyrights for certain works (such as retail products) must be careful to ensure that they are not only acquiring the necessary copyrights, but respecting the registered design owner’s rights as well. It is possible for one party to own the copyright in a work while another party owns its design registration, so parties seeking to license or acquire copyrights must conduct thorough due diligence to make sure they are acquiring all of the necessary rights to avoid infringement.

Speak with a Copyright Lawyer at Lexglobe IP Services

Lexglobe IP Services is a Tanzanian law firm that focuses on representing clients in copyright and other intellectual property matters. If you have questions about licensing or assigning copyrights in Tanzania or Zanzibar, please call 255 22 212 4127 or send us a message online to schedule an initial consultation.

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5th Floor, ABSA House, Ohio Street, P.O. Box 78934, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Phone: +255 22 2124127 - Mobile: +255 750 309344 - Fax: +255 22 2124128