Liz Lenjo

A slight lady in a white Creative Commoner Branded T-Shirt and blue Jeans walks to the front after the first session. Don’t let her small demeanor fool you though, Liz Lenjo is an Advocate of the high court and a partner at Kikao Law firm. She specializes in Intellectual Property law, entertainment, sports and media law.

Liz handled an interesting session on ‘Intellectual property laws that govern content creation and freedom of expression.’ The session kicked off by differentiating between copyrights and trademarks. “Trademarks are legal brand identities, while copyright law elaborates the parameters within which one has a right to copy”, she said.

She informed us that copyright law does not protect ideas. “Intellectual Property Law helps one convert an idea into an intellectual property asset”, she explained. The forms of protections accorded under IP Law include Patents, Trademarks, Copyright, Utility Models among others. “What is relevant for content creators is Trademarks and Copyright Law”, she expounded.

Trademarks are a form of IP protection for the exclusive use of a brand name, logo or slogan used by a company or on a product. Copyrights on the other hand are protection accorded to literary and musical works, software and artistic works which cuts across from books, music, film, paintings, photographs.

Liz told us the importance of Creative Commons. A Creative Commons license is a suitable license for bloggers who are believers in open source. “Those who want to contribute to knowledge sharing will find the CC more useful”, she said. “Where you want to make monetary gains a simple copyright notice and details of who to reach out to use your material suffices”, she explained. “Do not make it hard for people to reach you”, she advised.

It also emerged during the session that she also handled a case between Mwarv Kirubi and Land Rover SA.  One of his photographs were used without his permission.

She said that social media is a great thing to create awareness for our online content, however, we must be careful to ensure that the source of our content is one platform. “A website is a much safer option where you have your terms and conditions as well as a copyright notice as the central point of information”, she advised. Once you decide to share the same works through your Facebook account or any other social media platforms one needs to be aware that the dangers in conflict of terms of conditions will affect your online content. “Do any of you take time to read through the terms and conditions on Facebook?” she asked.

“Perpetrators of IP  infringement  will always rely on the platform that offers them the easiest way out and clear them of any liability”, she informed us.  It is important to know the terms of sharing your work on every platform, most of which change from time to time. She told us that we should keep updated with them to know if we would still want to share our work on these platforms.

She concluded with freedom of speech and libel. “Most bloggers and users of social media do not know the kind of defamation suits that they may get from what they publish”, she said. “Slander results from oral untruths. Libel entails published untruths or harmful statements to one’s reputation”, she explained.

“It does not matter whether your source was another blog or a publication. If you publish damaging statements, you are liable for a defamation suit”, she informed us. “The best thing to do is to verify sources of your information, to make sure you are libel free”, she concluded.

Liz Lenjo blogs at lizlenjo.com, you can also connect to her at @LizLenjo_Kags