Austrian, Ethiopian Paleoanthropologists Locked In Copy Right Dispute

Austrian, Ethiopian Paleoanthropologists Locked In Copy Right Dispute


Addis Ababa, February 27 (WIC)- Ethiopian and Austrian Palaeoantropologists are embroiled in a copyright dispute over a CD-ROM production of the Bodo Skull, a 600,000 years old skull which is owned by the Ethiopian National Museum.


The cover of the CD-ROM attributes the copy right to the Institute of Anthropology, Vienna University, which produced the CD-Rom. Some Ethiopian palaeoantropologists contend that by this act, the University of Vienna has violated Ethiopia's right to be recognized, that naturally comes with the ownership of the fossil.


Berhane Asfaw, an Ethiopia paleoanthropolgists says that there has not been any new information that the producers of the CD-ROM have come up as regards the skull, to demand the copyright ownership. The University of Vienna has violated the right of ownership of the Ethiopian National Museum, and it has to take immediate measures to rectify this wrong, Dr. Berhane said.


Dr. Yonas Beyene, Head of the Archaeology and the Anthropology Department at the Center for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage, recalls that the university has agreed to give the copyright of the CD-ROM to the Ethiopian side, when it borrowed the fossil two years ago.


He said upon hearing rumours surrounding the copyright issue, he had discussed the matter with his seniors and was informed by them that the copyright was Ethiopia's, only to discover later that this was not the case.


Prof. Horst Seidler, Head of the Research Project that produced the CD-Rom, however insists that the copyright symbol on the cover of the CD-ROM only concerned the illustration on the cover itself.


He says if one opens the CD-ROM by a personal computer, one could easily see that the Austrian Authority has followed in each the agreement which has been signed by Ethiopia and Austria,


"In case some Ethiopian Authorities desire that the exclusive rights on the computer topography data stored on the

CD-ROM should be mentioned in a special way, I will do it immediately," Prof. Seidler said.


According to the agreement signed between Ethiopia and Austria the University of Vienna was to "compile and analyse the data and assure that all associated copyrights solely belong to the Ethiopian side."


The Ministry of Information and Culture, would not comment on the issue, saying that it was investigating the case. It is to be recalled that the Minister of Information and Culture, who commented earlier on the issue, said that the ministry would take appropriate measures if it found out that the copyright has been violated.