A COPYRIGHT LAW: A LAW THAT IS ABUSED IN SOMALIA

Copyright is the right to make copies, and stop others from making copies without the author’s permission. Normally the owner of the copyright is given an exclusive right to reproduce, perform in public, make a sound recording, make motion pictures, broadcast, translate, and to adopt it (DR. Salem, 2008).

The main purpose of the copyright is to encourage the creativity of minds. It gives an economic and moral right to the author of the work. The author should be given a percentage of what is received from printing and selling of what he/she wrote. Its moral right is that other person cannot claim the author’s work.

In Somalia, the copyright is not applied as it was ideally to deal with. There are many educational institutions in the country. The numbers of universities were also increasing recently. There are a lot of graduates every year. These graduates are required to write graduation theses and research papers. They write it without giving citations and references to the authors of the source they are using.

The copyright issue is beyond citations. We have experienced another copyright violation. Soma universities use their names and logo on the cover page of the books they teach pretending that they are the authors of the book. This is a big mistake. The author’s name is written in the bottom, but the university name is written on the top of the cover page. As we can understand from the situation, the aim of the university is to use it as marketing since many people can see the university name easily. They do not care the right of the author and the university or the other institution he/she wrote the book.  Not all universities use it, but those use such actions should be careful about it.

The printing or copying centers also use their names, as they are the primary printers of the books they copy. They are the same like the universities. Their aim is only advertizing. They are using as an advertisement, but they are infringing other person’s right. The dilemma is that they copy one original book to hundreds. They are making money out of that copy. In addition to that, they are printing their names on the cover. This is two mistakes. The first is that they reproduced the book without any permission about the author. The other mistake is that they used their names and telephone numbers on the copied books. They may justify that they are not able to communicate with the author of the books they reproduce, but in my view they can get easily if they try to contact with them. The advanced technology we use today can make the issue simple.

Somalia, although I am not hundred percent sure, did not sign the international convention of copyright. The country was in a chaos and fragile situation for more than twenty years, but all these cannot be a real justification for all these copyright violations we see today.

Since we are scholars we have to give respect of the other authors. The best way is that university administrations and supervisors should teach the students the best way to quote information. They should set guidelines that the student should follow. The students must also try their best by reading and watching research materials in order to avoid plagiarism. They have to ask questions about it to their lecturers and supervisors. They have not to use irrelevant citations to what they are preparing. This can lessen plagiarism.

The universities and printing presses must stop printing their logo and names on the cover pages of books they did not own. This is totally wrong and they are questionable of such act. They are seeking name and using as an advertisement, but they are breaching an international copyright law, although they are not binding to that law.

In conclusion, I do strongly advice to take care of the words, ideas, literal and everything that came from a creative mind.  Morally no one likes to be used what he composed in his mind paying time, cost and energy, and every person is like you. Put the others to your place, and tell yourself that they feel what you feel in such situation.

Mahad Abdullahi

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