Vol. 6, Issue 3 (2020)
Fair practice standard under copyright law of Ethiopia: The case of education
Author(s): Daniel Mitiku
Abstract: Copyright means a property right that subsists in a certain specified type of works. These specified types of works in which copyright subsists are like original literary works, films and sound recordings. The owner of copyright subsisting in a work has the exclusive right to do certain acts in relation to the copyrighted work like making a copy, broadcasting or selling copies to the public. Other persons, unless authorized by the owner, are restricted by the copyright law from doing such acts. However, the copyright law does not totally ensure the owner of copyright the maximum economic benefit. It balances between the interest of copyright owner to obtain a fair return and society’s interest in access to and use of information. Thus the copyright law does not only provide exclusive right to the copyright owner, but also exceptions to the exclusive right and allow the use of copyrighted work by third parties in certain circumstances, such as, education, without the permission or license of copyright owner. The exceptions by themselves do have their own limits. These exceptions and limits to the exceptions are generally guided by the doctrine or standard known as "fair practice" in Ethiopian legal system, "fair use" in USA, and "fair dealing" in UK. But, the Ethiopian copyright law does not define and provide a standard for the doctrine fair practice. It is not an easy task as such to differentiate what practice is fair and what is not in the absence of precedent developed on the area. In the absence of a clear definition and standard, it may end up in uncertainty and inconsistent application of it. So, dealing with the contents of the standard fair practice is quite vital.