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Article
Publication date: 24 June 2020

Magdaline Wanjiru Mungai, Selikem Sebuava Dorvlo, Asaph Nuwagirya and Marlene Holmner

Copyright exceptions promote access to information by users without breaching copyright. This research paper reviews copyright exceptions in Kenya, Ghana and Uganda and…

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

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