Fair Use Under Copyright Law: Theoretical Basis and Enforcement Approaches in Selected East African States

Saudin J. Mwakaje


The provisions of fair use in the copyright legislation afford a
requisite policy balance for achieving important public
developmental goals, such as facilitating access to
information. However, the exact scope of fair use differs
depending on the underlying priorities in a particular
jurisdiction. The theoretical underpinning that substantiates
fair use are also variant. The different approaches are
evident in the regulatory practices across the East African
States. The statutory restrictions on the applicability of fair
use have been variously interpreted within the region, hence
potentially creating legal and regulatory dilemma. This trend
is worrisome in the context of present regional initiatives to
approximate intellectual property laws within the region. The
threshold of assessing fair use as reflected in local and
international copyright legal texts offers inconclusive clues
on fair use. Ultimately, consideration of specific conditions
obtaining in a particular jurisdiction is important in devising
the appropriate regulatory model for fair use.


Key words: Copyright law, fair use, theoretical basis, copyright
flexibilities, and regional harmonization.

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