The Copyright order provides for the protection of (a) patents, (b) utility models, (c) industrial designs, and (d) marks, collective marks and trade names including well known marks.
The Copyright Order (CO) of 1989 protects literary, artistic and scientific works and their transformations (including expressions of folklore), performers, producers of phonograms and broadcasting organizations. In general, copyright protection covers the works of authors who are Lesotho nationals or residents, works first published in Lesotho irrespective of the nationality or residence of their authors, and producers and performers who are Lesotho nationals. Foreign unpublished works and works first published in a foreign country are also protected, provided that the country where the author resides or, in the case of published works, the country of their first publication, grants similar protection to nationals or residents of Lesotho.
Lesotho's regulatory framework is also governed by the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). As an LDC (least developed country), Lesotho continued to benefit during the period reviewed from special and differential treatment allowing it to delay the application of certain provisions of the TRIPS agreement.
In June 2013, LDCs were granted a second extension to delay the application of Article 66.1 of the TRIPS agreement until July 2021. The first extension expired in July 2013. In accordance with this extension, Lesotho, as an LDC, has to apply the TRIPS provisions on non-discrimination (Articles 3, 4 and 5 of the TRIPS Agreement) but has the flexibility to apply or not the rest of its provisions for the protection of intellectual property rights, including those related to trademarks, patents, copyright, industrial designs, geographical indications or any others covered by the agreement.
Lesotho has not yet ratified the Protocol amending the TRIPS agreement and therefore continues to be covered by a WTO waiver granted in 2005 for this purpose. The authorities indicated that Lesotho requires technical assistance on Intellectual Property Rights issues, in particular to train officials on the implementation and enforcement of the TRIPS Agreement, strengthen the copyright office, and establish copyright management organizations.
Copyright regulations were amended in 2015 and thus far an Intellectual Property board has been appointed and was inaugurated in January 2020 to also mark national copyright day.
A royalties arrangement has been initiated via efforts by the LMRA
An application is now available where people can purchase music created by Basotho musicians
Information sharing initiatives have been undertaken by MTEC to educate and engage creative practitioners on their IP rights.
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government of Lesotho