Intellectual Property Rights legislation to be updated


Copyrights infringements are a major concern for Guyanese creators, artists and business persons and as such, the Government of Guyana will be moving this year to update the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) draft legislation.

At a panel discussion on the importance of intellectual property rights protections, held by the US Embassy, at Castellani House on Friday, it was disclosed that many challenges exist due to outdated regulations.

Parliamentary Counsel at the Ministry of Legal Affairs Charles Fung-A-Fat S.C explained that the draft legislation prepared in 2005, was more “modern compared to other Caribbean drafts,” at that time.

Local artiste, Gavin Mendonca adding to the discussion said, “What’s lacking in Guyanese society as a whole from the chambers of parliament to homeless people is we seem to lack respect and appreciation for each other and for ourselves.” Medonca opined that there needs to be greater awareness and education of the general public on Intellectual Property Rights.

The panellists also included Minister of Public Telecommunications Catherine Hughes, Chairman of the National Communication Board, Enrico Woolford, Cultural Advisor to the Ministry of Social Cohesion, Ruel Johnson, Head of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Vishu Doerga, Executive Member of the Guyana Women’s Artist Association Dominique Hunter, and Guyanese artiste Marian Williams.

Many of the panellists’ perspectives highlighted the challenges face because of the outdated regulation and the ways in which this can be addressed.

IPR is a right that is had by a person or by a company to have exclusive ownership, through patents, copyrights and trademarks. These IPRs, allow the holder to exercise a monopoly on the use of the item for a specified period. Guyana’s Copyright Act is dated 1956, and its Trademark Act and Patents and Design Act are dated 1973.  Guyana joined the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and acceded to the Berne and Paris Conventions in late 1994.

This panel discussion is one of the many activities to raise awareness and share knowledge on the legislation and implementation of the IPR.

(Extracted from the Department of Public Information)

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