Copyright, the AfCFTA and the Heterogony of Ends
Published 14 December 2020
The Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) includes cooperation on intellectual property rights (IPRs) on the assumption that IPR enforcement will promote cultural and economic growth in Africa. I challenge this assumption based on economic and historical evidence. I affirm that copyright leads to economic inefficiencies, can be an instrument of censorship and grants monopoly extra-profits to multinational firms and not (except in very rare cases) an adequate remuneration to the authors of cultural works. A wider and stricter application of copyright in Africa would end up hindering cultural and economic development. Therefore, I propose that copyright legislation be curtailed in short/medium term and repealed in the long term in favour of regulating cultural works as common goods. Such a change would resolve many of the flaws in current proprietary" copyright legislation without impeding the achievement of the objectives that represent its theoretical justification. The regulation of cultural works as common goods would also contribute better to the creation and maintenance of democratic regimes.
This paper will be part of the TDM Special Issue on "The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA)". More information here www.transnational-dispute-management.com/news.asp?key=1809