Oct 6, 2020, 12:00 PM
The attention of Copyright Office has been drawn to a potential intellectual property Right (IPR), Copyright Right infringement by a certain association/ organisation called ‘The Stone Circle Media Award and coordinated by one Ebrima Darboe’, which neither the National Centre for Arts and Culture nor the Copyright Office is aware of its existence, hence this press statement not limited to the following points/ notice;
1-Section 11 (a-n) of the 2003 NCAC Act, provided and assigned the institution (NCAC) as custodian of national norms and values of The Gambia, including traditional cultural expressions and Folklore, which the subject matter (Stone Circles) forms part and parcel of with reference to its status as part of the list for UNESCO World Heritage, deserving protection at all times by member states including The Gambia, through the NCAC.
Whereas section 8(1)(a-c)(2)(a-d)(3-4) of the 2004 Copyright Act, Cap 95;02, Volume 15, Laws of The Gambia, provided protection for expressions of Folklore.
In the same veins, section 27(1-4(a-b) of the 2018 Copyright Regulations made similar protective measures, especially against commercial usage of such traditional cultural expressions and folklore without expressed consent of the legal authority (state / NCAC) as custodians. Defaulters therein face a fine of six thousand dalasis or six months imprisonment.
2-The choice of name(s) for business entities and other commercial outlets is governed by several legal instruments (provisions) at domestic and international level with objectives among others having certainty and order devoid of creating confusion in the minds of the general public as to true intent and purpose of such establishments.
Section 19 of Companies Act 2013, Cap 94;01, Volume 15, Laws of The Gambia, prohibit such usage, especially those names capable of creating confusion for the general public.
Moreover, Article 6-ter(1-10) of Paris Convention of 1883 for protection of Industrial Property strongly prohibits the use of state emblems, official hallmarks and emblems of international governmental organisations among others capable of creating confusion in the minds of people as long as their distinguishing factor is concerned.
The cited Article 6-bis (1-3) of the Paris Convention provided protection for well known marks, including the Stone Circle case at hand against infringement and urges member states to not only refuse registration of marks capable of creating confusion and infringement of such well known marks, but also cancel and prohibit their use.
Similar provision are made under article 16(1) of TRIPS Agreement, providing exclusive rights enjoy by right owners including the National Centre for Arts and Culture as custodian of the Stone Circle, listed in UNESCO World Heritage for and on behalf of The Gambia.
3-The Copyright Office and National Centre for Arts and Culture is not aware of any competition or struggles with any third party over the management and coordination of our traditional norms and values, including our cultural expressions (folklore), which covered the Stone Circles in issue, hence the need for permission before unauthorised use and association with such well known cultural sites and heritages for reference purpose.
The Madrid Agreement for Repression of False or Deceptive Indications of Source on Goods and Article 81 of European Union Community Law on Competition among others, strongly prohibits anti-competitive sprits in the world of commerce and business.
Therefore, by this notice, the management of the cited Stone Circle Media Awards is requested to put their house in order, through consultation with management of National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and settle the matter within a reasonable time, failure of which shall occasion implementation of the cited legal provisions without delay.
By Sanna Jawara, Copyright Officer, LLB, BL, Intellectual Property Law Masters candidate