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MPUTHIA: Architectural copyright hinges on originality

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Architectural copyright hinges on originality

Burj-al-Arab
Burj-al-Arab building in Dubai which is copyrighted. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya’s real estate seems to be rising insofar as architecture is concerned. There are many majestic buildings mushrooming in commercial, retail and residential sectors. It is a dream for many individuals and businesses to buy or build their own premises.

There are many factors that go into home or property ownership and some of them include price, location and quality.

Some buyers place a higher premium on the aesthetic value of a property and for them, design is a key component in purchase decision. Individual preference determines the most favoured design. Some general ones include colonial style, country, Mediterranean, Greek, Spanish, oriental, cabin log homes and modern-contemporary styles.

An architect’s role in the finished product is therefore of great importance to meeting client tastes.

The design of a home begins with a concept which is initiated either by the architect or his client. The architect reduces this concept in drawings, plans and at times may resort to usage of technology such as audio-visual designs and even software.

The work of an architect brings up a lot of legal ownership issues, particularly those touching on intellectual property.

The first is that the works are eligible for copyright protection under Kenyan law where they are original and reduced in material form. This means that ideas and unrecorded concepts are not eligible. Furthermore, the design must be original. The architect must demonstrate great creativity and originality in his design.

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Functional parts of a home are not eligible for protection. There are many majestic buildings that are the product of unique architect designs and which have been protected by copyright. For example, in one media report, the “Burj-al-Arab building in Dubai is copyrighted and no replica of the same can be made.

In the same media report there was a diplomatic spat between India and Bangladesh when a Bangladeshi architect produced an exact replica of the Taj Mahal in Bangladesh.

Kenyan architects should apply creativity and innovation in their designs so that they can be protected. Furthermore, the rise of iconic Kenyan buildings may contribute to the “Kenyan brand.” So iconic are the Burj-al-Arab and Burj Khalifa buildings that they contribute to architectural tourism in Dubai.

Ownership of the design depends on the business model in question. Some architects originate designs which they then sell at random, meaning the designs belong to them. Others derive concepts from their clients and in such cases, ownership may belong to the client if the contract stipulates so.

A protected work gives the owner (or architect) control over reproduction, sale, lease or even derivation of his work.

An architect can control the erection of a building which is a reproduction of his protected work. For architects, this means they will be able to attain a competitive edge over their works as nobody else can use them without authority. Such authority can be predicated on royalties. Architects can also sell their designs at a premium while increasing their company valuations.

Protecting architectural designs also minimises incidence of replication therefore preserving the aesthetic value of iconic buildings which is beneficial to home owners.

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World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021

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World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.

“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.

He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.

The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.

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People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.

For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.

Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.

“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.

ALSO READ:Global Economy Plunges into Worst Recession – World Bank

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Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans

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The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.

“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”

According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.

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Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans

The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.

Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.

Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.

SEE ALSO: Central Bank Unveils Measures to Tame Unregulated Digital Lenders

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Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options. 

This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.

The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.

The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.

The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).

The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.

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The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour;  Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).

The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.

Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”

He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.

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