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This page provides an overview of copyright rules of Malawi relevant to uploading works into Wikimedia Commons. Note that any work originating in Malawi must be in the public domain, or available under a free license, in both Malawi and the United States before it can be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. If there is any doubt about the copyright status of a work from Malawi, refer to the relevant laws for clarification.

Background

The region to the west and south of Lake Nyasa (now Lake Malawi) was colonized by the British in 1891 and became the protectorate of Nyasaland. In 1953 Malawi joined the semi-independent Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, which was dissolved in 1963. In 1964 Nyasaland became an independent country.

Malawi has been a member of the Berne Convention since 12 October 1991 and the World Trade Organization since 31 May 1995.[1]

As of 2018 the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an agency of the United Nations, listed the Copyright Act, 2016 (Act No. 26 of 2016) as the main IP law enacted by the legislature of Malawi.[1] WIPO holds the text of this law in their WIPO Lex database.[2] The 2016 act replaced and repealed the Copyright Act, 1989 (as amended on July 1, 2001).[3] The provisions appear to be retroactive: "Any subsidiary legislation made under the repealed Act in force immediately before the commencement of this Act shall remain in force unless in conflict with this Act ...[26/2016 Section 120]

General rules

According to the Malawian Copyright Act of 1989, the copyright terms of Malawi were as follows:[3]

  • Photographic works: 25 years since the end of the year of first publication. Note that the 2016 act does not specify a duration for photographs, which are considered "artistic works" and so would now be protected for life + 50 years.
  • Audio-visual work: 50 years since the end of the year in which it was first made available to the public
  • Works by individual authors: 50 years since the end of the year of the author's death
  • Works by anonymous, corporate, or government authors: 50 years from the date of publication

Under the Copyright Act, 2016,

  • Works are protected during the life of the author and for 50 years after his death.[26/2016 Section 35(1a)]
  • For a work of joint ownership, during the life of the last surviving author and for 50 years after his death.[26/2016 Section 35(1b)]
  • For anonymous or pseudonymous works, for a period of 50 years from the date on which such work was first published or otherwise lawfully made available to the public, whichever date is the latest, or if the work has not thus been made available to the public within 50 years of it having been created, for a period of 50 years from the date on which the work was created.[26/2016 Section 35(1c)]
  • For an audio­visual work, until the expiration of 50 years from the date on which such work is first published or otherwise made available to the public with the consent of the author, whichever date is the latest, or if the work has not thus been made available to the public within 50 years from the making of the work, for 50 years from the making of the work.[26/2016 Section 35(1d)]
  • For a work owned by the Government, for 50 years from the date on which the work was first made available to the public, or, if the work has not thus been made available to the public within 50 years from the making of the work, 50 years from the making of the work.[26/2016 Section 35(1e)]
  • For a work of applied art which is subject to production on an industrial scale, until the expiration of 25 years from the date on which the work was first published, or, if the work has not been published within 50 years of it having been made, for a period of 50 years from the date on which the work was made.[26/2016 Section 35(1f)]

Every period specified in this section shall run to the end of the calendar year in which it would otherwise expire.[26/2016 Section 35(2)]

Expressions of folklore: not free

"Expressions of folklore" means subject matter in the literary, dramatic, musical or artistic fields, belonging to the traditional cultural heritage of Malawi, preserved and developed by ethnic or local communities or by unidentified individuals of Malawi, and includes folk tales, folk poetry and riddles; folk songs and instrumental folk music; folk dances, plays and artistic forms of rituals; production of folk art, in particular drawings, paintings, carvings, sculptures, pottery, terracotta, mosaic, woodwork, metalware, jewellery, baskets and costumes; traditional musical instruments; and any works designated as such by the Minister by notice published in the Gazette.[26/2016 Section 2] Protection of expressions of folklore applies to expressions of folklore belonging to the traditional or cultural heritage of Malawi developed and maintained by ethnic or local communities in Malawi; or unidentified Malawian individuals.[26/2016 Section 3(2)]

Copyright in expressions of folklore shall vest in perpetuity in the Government on behalf of, and for the benefit of the people of Malawi.[26/2016 Section 67(1)] The following uses of the expressions of folklore shall be subject to prior written authorization by the Minister when they are made for gainful purposes or outside their traditional and customary context: any publication, reproduction and any distribution of copies of expressions of folklore; or any communication to the public, including recitation, performance, broadcasting or distribution by cable, of expressions of folklore.[26/2016 Section 68] Authorization of any use of expressions of folklore may be general or specific and may be granted upon application in writing to the Minister.[26/2016 Section 71(1)]

Freedom of panorama

See also: Commons:Freedom of panorama

Reproduction of a work and making available to the public of any work that can be seen or heard in the course of a current event, for the purpose of reporting on the current event, by means of photography, cinematography or other means of communication, is permitted to the extent justified for an informative purpose.[26/2016 Section 45] Reproduction and making available to the public by photography, cinematography, drawing or similar means of depiction of an artistic work is permitted when the work is

(a) included in the picture or recording by way of background or as incidental, to the essential matters represented;
(b) a work of architecture in the form of a building; or
(c) a work of art permanently located in a place outdoors where it can be viewed by the public:

Provided that pictures or recordings in which the work of art clearly is the principal motif, shall not be commercially exploited without the consent of the author.[26/2016 Section 46]

Copyright tags

See also: Commons:Copyright tags

a) photographs after 25 years from the end of the year of first publication;
b) computer programs 10 years after the end of the year in which they were first sold, leased or licensed;
c) audio-visual works 50 years from the end of the year of first publication;
d) other works 50 years from the end of the year of the author's death.

Stamps

See also: Commons:Stamps/Public domain

  Under Malawi's Copyright Act, 2016, the copyright term for works by the government is 50 years from the date of first publication and for works by individual authors is life of the author plus fifty years.[26/2016 Section 35(1a),(1e)] Since the first stamps of Malawi were issued on 6 July 1964, the earliest any stamp of Malawi will be PD is 2015 (and even then only if the artwork depicted on the stamp is a government work).[4]

See also

Citations

  1. a b Malawi Copyright and Related Rights (Neighboring Rights). WIPO: World Intellectual Property Organization (2018). Retrieved on 2018-11-04.
  2. Copyright Act, 2016 (Act No. 26 of 2016). Malawi (2016). Retrieved on 2018-11-04.
  3. a b Malawi:Copyright Act, 1989. WIPO (2001). Retrieved on 21 May 2014.
  4. Rossiter, Stuart & John Flower. The Stamp Atlas. London: Macdonald, 1986, p.292. ISBN 0-356-10862-7
Caution: The above description may be inaccurate, incomplete and/or out of date, so must be treated with caution. Before you upload a file to Wikimedia Commons you should ensure it may be used freely. See also: Commons:General disclaimer