With the forthcoming changes in Copyright law this year, it becomes imperative to understand the basic concepts of copyright law. Copyright law has always been about policy. The framers of the law intend to protect the rights of the people in their creative works and promote innovation. All advanced countries reach the top because they promote innovation in every department like business, technology, military, sports pharmaceuticals music films etc. While the economy of almost all countries is affected Mauritius has shown slow but steady growth and this is the correct time that we must focus on protecting our intellectual property in order to benefit from it, in the future.
    The law on copyright should focus on recognition of copyright to begin with. Registration of the copyright ; indeed is the solution, which makes the process of enforcement of copyright easier. Due to absence of the registration system an author cannot individually exercise his right in his work. Therefore a collective copyright administration society was formulated to protect the rights of the authors. Even now protection of copyright is done by what we know as a MASA stamp which gives the author a right of priority date, so that he can enforce his copyright in court. Therefore the date of registration is the only way which protects the author ; although it should be the copyright as a whole which should do that.      
Let take an example – In a Harry Potter book, the theme and story and its characters are protected by Copyright and it gives the owner J.K. Rowling protection from someone copying her work. However if this book was written in Mauritius, the only thing, which would be protected would be the date. Although Mauritius has common law protection of copyright, but due to the absense of the registration system, an individual cannot enforce his right. This creates loopholes for a person to copy her work and yet legally evade an infringement action.
The proposed law of copyright deals pretty well with issues of derivatives, broadcasting rights and is a step in the right direction. Copyright licensing are efficiently handled better here in Mauritius ; rather than in the USA ; my full compliments go out to the people of Mauritius and MASA who make this possible. We need to now focus on issues concerning Fair Use, Public Domain, Cyber Crimes, and Rights of artist in sound recordings among many others. Formulating a law which addresses the current issues and protects everyone’s interest is the need of the hour and that can be possible only with everyone’s involvement.
To understand copyright we need to understand its past so that we can, confidently step into the future. Copyright began in 1710 in Great Britain with the act known as Statue of Ann. In those days books were the only medium of knowledge and information. And the rich were those people who invested and owned printing presses. Books were the only source of information and therefore, there were difference created between free thinking writers and the Vatican, who for obvious reasons did not want certain materials to be published. In view of this, it was decided that all works would belong to the crown and therefore to be published the author would need to register and thereby indirectly would need to seek permission from the Crown. After much lobbying ; the Statute of Ann was enacted, which was the first Copyright legislation way back in the 1700’s.
    Many copyright scholars believe that copyright truly evolved in the United States ; their litigatious society, coupled with rapid advancement in innovation ; gave intellectual property its true boost. Through debates in Congress and enacted legislations, copyright law evolved to meet the needs of the ever-changing technology.    In 1995 Mauritius, conformed its law to meet the minimum standards as set out in the Trade Related Agreement on Intellectual Property (TRIPS). Copyright law 1997 mirrored most of the UK provisions on Copyright. From Songs to movies to content available on the internet the average person became aware of the illegality of infringement.
From books being the only source of information to the ‘Cloud age’ copyright evolved with changing times. United States upholds Copyright law in an extreme manner, although this is the only way to eradicate piracy and promote creativity but it has a negative effect. Around 35000 people in the US were issued Court notices for downloading a movie. These are just a couple of examples of copyright infringement cases and many Copyright Law scholars believe that US Copyright Law ; in itself stifles creativity. It is defeating the very purpose for which it was formulated.
Mauritius is in that phase of development, where we can easily benefit from the mistakes of other nations and develop our own copyright regime, which should suit the needs of the average Mauritian in order to promote creativity and protect piracy.