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How To Copyright A Song In Rwanda


What is copyright?

Copyright is a legal right created by the law of a country that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to its use and distribution, usually for a limited time, with the intention of enabling the creator (e.g. a musician) to receive compensation for their intellectual effort.

When are copyrights created?

Musical and Artistic works cannot be copyrighted unless the work has been written down, recorded or otherwise reduced to material form.

For compositions, the copyright is automatically created when music or lyrics are recorded, put on paper, or otherwise written down in a document

For master recordings, the copyright is created as soon as “a sound recording is fixed, meaning that the sounds must be captured in a medium. This may be “in a digital track, disk, tape, or other formats”.

Which law governs copyrights in Rwanda?

In Rwanda, intellectual property is protected under law NO 31/2009 of 26/10/2009 and law NO 50/2018 of 13/8/2018

Which institution is tasked with registration of copyright in Rwanda?


KG 220 St, Kigali P.O Box 6239

Tel: 1415 / +250 727 775 170


How does one register a copyright?

Step 1: Visit Rwanda Development Board (RDB) office in your location to obtain the application form for Copyright registration and prepare all required supporting documents

Step 2: Write an application letter addressed to the registrar general of the RDB requesting the registration of your copyright

Step 3: Scan all the required documents and submit your application via email to the RBD Intellectual Property division through this email address:

Step 4: Once your application has be received by the RDB, you will receive a journal receipt notice in your email account confirming the application

Step 5: The Intellectual Property (IP) unit will verify your application and if it is correct they will forward it to the responsible office for processing

Step 6: The registration officer will inform you by telephone and or email when the registration certificate will be ready.

Step 7: Visit the RDB office ,IP unit to collect your certificate by submitting the journal receipt notice and your identification documents or send a legal representative with a notarized power of attorney pick it for you

How much does copyrighting a song cost?

Free of charge

What is the duration of Copyright?

In Rwanda, economic rights for Copyright are protected during the lifetime of the author and fifty years after his/her death



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