In the words of Prof Caroline Ncube, the SARChI Chair on Intellectual Property, Innovation, and Development, at UCT, the collaborative webinar hosted by the office of the chair in collaboration with the University of Venda to mark World Intellectual Property Day was a momentous occasion that called for celebration of the potential of African youths (see flyer). It was also a day of gratitude for the culmination of one of our very own’s most recent academic projects, being Dr Desmond Oriakhogba’s seminal book on collective management in Africa.
These sentiments were echoed by other dignitaries present at the event who reiterated the need for a robust engagement on the potential of collective management in unlocking the creative potential of African youth, when assured of their ability to reap the economic benefits of their creative outputs and intellectual property. The exploration and exposition on these possibilities were ably carried out by the eminent speakers of the day. Dr Edward Kwakwa, Assistant Director General, Global Challenges and Partnerships Sector, World Intellectual Property Organization, laid the foreground in his keynote speech where he drew attention to the potential of collective bargaining power that is inherent in a well-structured collecting society. Dr Chijioke Okorie took the discussion further by exploring some of the pitfalls of collecting societies and providing recommendations on ways to mitigate these challenges, drawing from Dr Oriakhogba’s book and many of the insights it provides, she reiterated the need to ensure that collecting societies work for the benefit of their members as well as have internal governance structures that help them maximize their bargaining power for the benefit of all. She also brought to light the often-ignored gendered aspect of collecting societies and proposed the exploration of collecting societies that catered to the needs of otherwise ignored or marginalized groups within creative industries. Dr Joel Baloyi provided a robust exposition on the nature of collecting societies and highlighted their operational models and utility to African creators in the 4th industrial revolution. Dr Marisella Ouma’s presentation addressed the possibilities of leveraging technology for effective collective management of copyright and other intellectual property rights.
As noted in the vote of thanks given by the acting head of Department of Mercantile and Private law at the University of Venda, the webinar proved to be an important exposition of the issues around collecting societies and their critical role in securing economic viability for Africa’s large youth population, brimming with creativity and ever-increasing outlets to showcase their talents in order to achieve better outcomes for them and their communities.
The video of the event is now available for viewing on YouTube.
26 April 2022