In Tanzania Mainland copyright is protected under the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act, Chapter 218 (Revised Edition of 2002)


According to the Act, “copyright” means the sole legal right to print, publish, perform, film or record a literary or artistic or musical work.


Copyright Society of Tanzania (COSOTA) is an organization established by the Act which is responsible for managing copyright issues in Tanzania. It has a number of functions but the major one is to maintain registers of works, productions and association of authors, performers, translators, producers of sound recordings, broadcasters and publishers.


(1) Filing an application for registration of copyright. The address of service in a prescribed form always accompanies the application for registration of copyright.

(2) On receiving the application for registration of copyright, the Copyright Administrator conducts search on the registered works with a view to ascertain existence of the same work in the register.

(3) After conducting the search, the Copyright Administrator may accept or reject the application.

(4) If the Copyright Administrator rejects the application, he will inform the applicant and the applicant has one month to reply to the objection by the Copyright Administrator.

(5) If the Copyright Administrator accepts the application, he will issue the certificate of registration


In addition to protecting rights of authors of artistic works, the Act goes further to define specifically the types of the protected rights. Those rights are categorized into two categories namely economic and moral rights.


For purpose of clarity and avoiding contradictions as to ownership of rights, the Act provides for the duration of author’s rights on a copyright protected work. The duration of author’s ownership is 50 years except in the case of a work of applied art, the rights are protected for twenty five years from the making of the work.


Protection of an artistic work would be inadequate if there are no remedies available for an author once a protected right is infringed. The Act has provisions for remedies against an infringement of a protected right and these remedies are in two groups which are Civil Remedies and Offences.

(a) Civil Remedies

An author can seek a civil remedy when their rights are in a danger of being infringed or when those rights have been actually infringed. Civil remedies range from instituting proceedings for an injunction, prohibition, payment of damages, seizure or destruction.

(b) Offences

A person who infringes rights which have been protected under the Act will be guilty of an offence and will be subject to prescribed sanctions. An author whose rights have been infringed is also at liberty to seek this type of remedy against the offender in addition to the civil remedies. It is important to note that an infringer will be punished if the infringement was for commercial purposes only. The Act imposes fine and imprisonment for such offences.

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