The main legislation in Tanzania is the Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act, 1999. Tanzania is a member of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works of 1886 as revised at Paris in 1971. Under Tanzanian law, copyright is recognized as a property right which vests in the authors of original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. Copyright also vests in authors of sound recordings, films, broadcasts, cable programmes and typographical arrangements of published editions. Several copyrights can exist in one work. For example, a song can be split into three (3) separate copyright works:
- copyright in the music itself (a ‘musical work’);
- copyright in the lyrics (a ‘literary work’); and
- copyright in the sound recording of the music (a ‘sound recording’).
The copyright law in Tanzania protects ‘neighboring rights’ as well. Neighboring rights are secondary rights of copyright that the performers are entitled. Performers are defined under the Tanzanian copyright law to include singers, musicians, dancers, producers of sound recording (for example cassette recordings and compact discs) in their recordings, broadcasting entities in their radio and television programs, etc.
Copyright and neighboring rights are essential to human creativity. Copyright protection gives the creators incentives in the form of recognition of their efforts and providing them with fair economic rewards. Through copyright protection, creators are assured that their works can be disseminated without fear of unauthorized copying or piracy. This in turn increases access to and enhances the enjoyment of, among other things, knowledge and entertainment all over the world.
Generally, copyright protection is available to works, unpublished works, audio visual works, architecture works, performance, phonograms, broadcasts and expression of folklore carried out in Tanzania. The Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act, 1999 contains rules on availability of copyright protection for works, unpublished works, audio visual works, architecture works, performance, phonograms, broadcasts and expression of folklore. Furthermore, the Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act, 1999 contains specific rules on situations whereby copyright protection is available to:
- situations whereby the publication, production, performance, broadcasting, etc was not carried out in Tanzania.
- situations whereby the publication, production, performance, broadcasting, etc was not carried out by a Tanzanian national.
- unpublished works and works first published in a foreign country by authors of foreign nationality.
- expressions of foreign folklore.
As a general rule, copyright protection is available to works of authors who are nationals of, or have their habitual residence in Tanzania. Works first published in Tanzania may also qualify for copyright protection irrespective of the nationality or residence of their authors. Works first published abroad but thereafter published in Tanzania may also qualify for copyright protection under certain conditions.