A university don has criticised the proposed new legislation on copyright which would soon be tabled before the Parliament.
Dr. Eliamani Laltaika of the Nelson Mandela University insists that the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Regulations 2016 should be stopped from being tabled because the regulations to come alongside, should it sail through, will be counter-productive.
"The regulations are untimely and tantamount to putting a cart before the horse", he told this newspaper in an interview in Arusha.
Dr. Laltaika, who is an expert in intellectual property rights, added that the regulations under the proposed law sought to ban communication to the public on the copyrighted work without a licence.
He argues that unless the Copyright Association of Tanzania (Cosota) is reformed "such a regulation is an exercise in futility".
The proposed legislation was among the subsidiary legislations that were open for the public hearing with the Parliament's Committee on Subsidiary legislation on April 3rd and 4th.
The Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act of 1999 establishes Cosota as an institution charged with copyright administration in Tanzania Mainland, both as de facto Collective Management Authority (CMO) and government's Copyright Administration Office.
"This duo mandate coupled with a privileged position as a government institution is an outdated model of copyright protection which lacks both efficiency and effectiveness", he added.
The law lecturer said he was one of the experts contacted over the proposed legislation but he could not meet the Bunge Committee due to pressure of work and a trip outside the country.
He cautioned that if passed the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights (Cpoyrighted Works-Communication to the Public) Regulations 2016 would make registration of a copyright a prerequisite for protection of the same.
The don described collection of royalties as a distinct function, dictated by membership of a particular society, compared to copyright administration.
"Combining these two functions leads to fallacious assumption that registration is a prerequisite for protection of copyright. In other words 'governmental functions' of implementing copyright law is separate from 'profit-inspired' functions of collective management societies", he pointed out.
Another weaknesses of the proposed legislation, he said, was overemphasizing audio-visual works at the expense of other works in which copyright subsist.
He sees copyright law as wide enough to address many, if not most, ideational resources such as books, graphic arts, architecture, ceramics, photography, sound recordings, motion pictures, cable and satellite broadcasting and computer programmes, to mention but a few.
He suggested that the government responded to decades-old demands by copyright stakeholders for enacting a law that would provide for creation of indendent collective management organizations.
Dr. Laltaika is also the founder and patron of Tanzania Intellectual Property Network (TIP Net), an organization set up in December 2009 to sensitize the public on intellectual property matters in collaboration with other institutions, especially the research and development (R & D) bodies.