WHAT ACTIONS HAVE BEEN TAKEN TO STRENGTHEN UZBEKISTAN’S POSITION IN THE INTERNATIONAL ARENA IN THE FIELD OF COPYRIGHT AND RELATED RIGHTS PROTECTION?
“Intellectual Property is the oil of the 21st century”
Intellectual property is the output of the human mental activity. It is one of the components of economic development. Every country should have a strong legal system for the protection of intellectual property and the authors of intellectual property should be supported by the state to achieve a high level of economic and social development.
Today, several activities are being carried out in Uzbekistan regarding the development of intellectual property and its legal protection. Systematic work is being conducted in our country to strengthen the legal protection of intellectual property, including copyright and related rights as well as to eliminate existing problems in this area.
As a result of the systemic reforms realised in the Republic over the past three years, work on copyright and related rights protection has accelerated. In particular:
a) in the field of legislation:
Strategy for the Development of Intellectual Property in Uzbekistan for 2022-2026 which encompasses a variety of activities in 7 priority areas was adopted.
Approved a Roadmap for the realization of this strategy for 2022-2023, which includes 38 activities carried out on 7 priority areas. Particular attention is paid to robust legal protection of intellectual property by ensuring effective enforcement.
the term of copyright protection was increased from 50 to 70 years after the death of the author;
The reflection of this innovation in the legislation serves to further obtain material benefits from a particular work by the authors and their heirs.
a procedure for compensating copyright and related right owners for their violated rights in the amount of 20 to 1,000 basic calculation units (from 550 to 27,300 USD) was introduced;
This procedure allowed the author and other copyright holders to receive compensation when it is not possible to determine the damage caused by the violation of their rights.
in order to revitalise the activities of collective management organisations (CMOs), CMOs are granted a deferral of the payment of state duty with subsequent recovery from the guilty party when they sue on behalf of their members.
This, in turn, further increased the possibility of a strong judicial protection of the rights of authors and other rightsholders who are members of CMOs.
administrative responsibility for the infringement of copyright and related rights as well as industrial property rights was introduced;
Until 2019, there was no administrative responsibility for the infringement of copyright and related rights.
b) lawsuits regarding copyright and related rights infringement increased:
the reviewed cases on the practice of protecting artistic works, audiovisual works and similar examples of performance in courts show that the issue of protecting the rights of authors is becoming the main priority. The Ministry of Justice, as a coordinating government body, pays special attention to protecting the rights and legal interests of authors, creators and other rights holders through courts;
During 2019-2022, 224 cases on the protection of intellectual property rights were considered by courts, in particular, 136 cases were reviewed in economic courts, 65 in administrative courts, 21 in civil courts and 2 in criminal courts. Specifically, 42 of the cases heard in these courts are directly related to violations of copyright and related rights.
Decisions rendered by courts show that 2 persons were convicted and 216 persons incurred administrative fine.
c) in the direction of digitalization of the sphere:
the “Faol muallif” (Active author) data register was developed and put into practice;
This register includes information about existent CMOs together with copyright and related rights objects of rightsholders who are members thereof.
Any person, having gained access to this register, can obtain information about these objects, their authors or other copyright holders on a free basis.
It serves as a valuable resource for the use of copyright and related rights by the law, in particular when concluding contracts with authors and other copyright holders.
a special calculator module which counts the copyright fee paid for the use of works and products of authors and other rightsholders was launched;
This module serves to create favourable conditions for authors and other right holders upon making new works, performances, phonograms, animations and broadcasts.
a new system of interaction between public authorities through the “IP-Protection” portal was launched to ensure timely response to intellectual property infringements;
This portal provides an opportunity to raise awareness of citizens about counterfeit products and encourage manufacturers of such products to comply with the law.
The portal also has a special communication channel for reporting counterfeit products, through which citizens can provide information about goods that they suspect of being counterfeit.
d) in the field of international cooperation:
Uzbekistan has acceded to four international intellectual property treaties in the past three years;
(Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of their Phonograms (Geneva, 29 October 1971), World Intellectual Property Organization Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) (Geneva, 20 December 1996), World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty (WCT) (Geneva, 20 December 1996).), commonly known as the WIPO Internet Treaties and the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled (27 June 2013)
the agreement on cooperation of the CIS member states in the field of copyright and related rights protection in information and telecommunication networks was approved;
This agreement is aimed to strengthen the cooperation of the CIS countries in the field of copyright and related rights protection directly in the digital environment.
a memorandum on cooperation in the field of copyright and related rights protection was signed with the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Uzbekistan is in the process of accession to three additional international WIPO-Administered treaties;
(Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks (27 March 2006), the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (2 July 1999), and the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations (26 October 1961))
International rankings have indicators related to the creation, use and commercialisation of copyright works. Indicators on innovation and commercialisation of copyright and related rights are included in the Global Innovation Index.
In this index, the Republic of Uzbekistan took 82nd out of 132 countries in 2022. According to the “Results of creative activity” index, Uzbekistan took 102nd place. In the 2021 indicator of the same rating, Uzbekistan is ranked 113th.
To conclude, significant efforts have been taken to strengthen Uzbekistan’s position in the international arena in the field of intellectual property. The sense of respect for intellectual property in society and the legal awareness of people has increased. Protecting the rights of authors and other creators is one of the main issues in today’s global era.