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Influence of copyright exceptions and limitations on access to information in Kenya, Ghana and Uganda libraries

Magdaline Wanjiru Mungai (Library Department, Africa Nazarene University Grace Roles Library, Nairobi, Kenya)
Selikem Sebuava Dorvlo (Library Department, Accra Technical Training Centre, Accra, Ghana)
Asaph Nuwagirya (Library Department, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda)
Marlene Holmner (Department of Information Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Article publication date: 24 June 2020

Issue publication date: 10 August 2020




Copyright exceptions promote access to information by users without breaching copyright. This research paper reviews copyright exceptions in Kenya, Ghana and Uganda and how they influence access to information in libraries. Objectives were to find out the implications of copyright exceptions in Kenya, Ghana and Uganda; advantages and disadvantages of copyright exceptions for libraries; and recommend best practices of copyright exceptions.


This is a desktop research reviewing empirical literature and incorporating authors' experiential knowledge in their information profession. Authors have interrogated copyright exceptions in their home countries' copyright acts, policy documents and peer-reviewed articles on copyright and information access. They analysed the documents as stated to deduce key recommendations regarding ideal copyright exceptions.


The study established that copyright exceptions do not always improve access as intended because they are inadequate, ignoring key library functions. Major inconsistencies exist in the exceptions in these countries; key terminologies have not been defined; and the concept is not well understood. Librarians lack sufficient knowledge on exceptions, hence lack self-efficacy in educating users. Kenya, Ghana and Uganda should improve and harmonize their copyright acts to cover key library functions.


This study provides in-depth analysis of historical and modern practices of copyright exceptions in the three countries revealing useful comparative insights. Previous studies looked at the issues from individual countries perspective.



The authors would like to acknowledge the University of Pretoria and Carnegie Corporation of New York for sponsoring the Continuous Professional Development course held at the University of Pretoria in 2017. It was the basis of motivation for this research.


Mungai, M.W., Dorvlo, S.S., Nuwagirya, A. and Holmner, M. (2020), "Influence of copyright exceptions and limitations on access to information in Kenya, Ghana and Uganda libraries", Library Management, Vol. 41 No. 6/7, pp. 565-577.



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