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An Overview of The Draft Copyright Tribunal (Procedure) Regulations, 2022

The Copyright Act establishes the Copyright Tribunal (the Tribunal) which hears and determines disputes related to a dispute over the registration of copyright and appeals against the decisions of the Copyright Board. The Draft Copyright Tribunal (Procedure) Regulations, 2022 therefore provide the procedure for the conduct of proceedings before the Tribunal for any disputes that have been referred to it.

The draft regulations propose the establishment of the office of the secretary to the tribunal who is tasked with the day-day running of the tribunal and coordination of proceedings before the tribunal. It is required under the regulations that this will be a person with the knowledge and expertise on matters relating to copyright.

Appeals Against the Decisions of the Copyright Board

The regulations require that appeals against the decision of the board shall be made within sixty days from the date of the decision. Service of the notice of appeals is to be done within a day after filing and may either be done physically, by way of post or electronically. Where the service is done electronically it is deemed to be done on the same day where it is served within the business hours of a business day and where done outside the business hours, the next business day.

The Copyright Board after service is required to file a response within a period of 14 days from the date of service. Parties failing to file their response as required without reasonable cause will not be allowed to participate in the proceedings. After the close of the period to file the proceedings the Tribunal will hold a per-trial conference with one of the objectives being the determination of the possibility of use of  alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to settle the dispute.

The Procedure of Hearing and Decision of the Tribunal

Hearings by the tribunal may either be conducted virtually or in person. Parties may also be required to file written submissions instead of the in person hearing where the tribunal deems fit to do so. The decision of the tribunal shall be the decision of the majority of the members in the tribunal.

Applications for Compensation and Disputes Over Registration of Copyright

A person who broadcasts audio-visual works in which a musical work is incorporated and in the absence of any express agreement, be entitled to make an application to the Tribunal for the determination of the amount of compensation due. The service of such as application shall be made 7 days after the date of filing with the respondent having 14 days to put in a response. Similar timelines will apply to disputes relating to the registration of copyright.

Power to Enter Premises

The Tribunal has the power to grant orders to a person to enter premises where items to which an order has been issued are stored and premises dealing in products regulated under the Copyright Act. The person entering such remises may request the presence and assistance of such law enforcement personnel as may considered necessary. The tribunal also has the power to issue summons to witnesses.

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