Copyright protection of computer programmes in Tanzania: A plea for legislative intervention
Gabriel Mnyele (The Institute of Finance Management, Department of Banking and Finance)
Download Article | Published On 01/07/1996


The downing of computer age with its attendant technological and scientific consequences has brought in new problems in relation to traditional regime of international and domestic regime of intellectual property law. For instance, if I may revisit the history, it cannot be disputed that the framers of Paris, Berne and Universal Copyright Conventions during the last century did not have in mind the issues and problems which have been encountered in relation to protection of computer programmes. Indeed, one is left but with the same conclusion with regard to the framer of the American Copyright Act of 1909; the English Copyright Acts of 1911 and 1955; and also the Tanzanian CopyrightActof1966 This article attempts to revisit comparatively the protection of computer programmes with respect to copyright law. The survey will culminated in trying to resolve the issue as to whether computer programmes are afforded protection under the Tanzanian Copyright Act. It is suggested at the end that the Copyright Act of Tanzania should be amended to clearly provide for copy­ right protection of computer programmes. Part one of the essay attempts to analyze from legal point of view the technical aspect of computers and computer programmes. In part two we in­ tend to discuss the relevance of protection of computer programmes. In part three we make a comparative survey of copyright protection of computer programmes in selected jurisdictions. We shall deal with the United States of America, Britain Chile and Brazil. This will assist us in discussing the legal position in Tanzania which will be the subject matter of part four of the essay. In discussing the position in Tanzania the attempt will be made to trace briefly the development of computerization in Tanzania and the significance of protection in the context of economic and technological dependency. I will conclude in part five

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