New hope for Africa? Copyright and access to knowledge in the digital age
For African countries, accessing knowledge material is crucial to unlock sustainable development. 3 While information and communication technologies (ICTs) facilitate access to such material, an access--enabling national copyright regime is equally important: Applied wisely, copyright law has the potential to promote learning through ICTs, but applied too strictly, copyright law has the potential to restrict access to knowledge. Digital technologies and the Internet have intensified copyright
... nsified copyright disputes because copyright infringement is a greater threat in the digital age than it was before. At the same time, digital technologies allow for the lock--up of copyright-protected material by way of technological protection measures (TPMs), regardless of established copyright balancing tools that strive to reconcile rights holders interests and public interests. Copyright exceptions and limitations are the most important legislative balancing tool that can be severely affected by TPMs. This paper discusses the three main approaches countries around the world have taken towards copyright exceptions and limitations. After examining the advantages and disadvantages of the different approaches, it suggests a preferred model for developing countries. It then addresses the problematic interplay between copyright exceptions and limitations on the one hand and TPMs on the other. The paper concludes by offering a solution for mitigating the potentially detrimental impact of TPMs on otherwise--permitted uses of copyright--protected knowledge materials.