Coalition urges Ramaphosa to refer copyright bill back to Parliament

2019-09-10 15:51


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The Coalition for Effective Copyright in South Africa has urged that the Copyright Amendment Bill be referred back to Parliament by President Cyril Ramaphosa for contentious points to be ironed out.

In a statement last week, the coalition – which represents more than 10 associations - expressed its concern that the bill in its current form would allow international companies to republish local work without compensating creators fairly.

"The coalition… firmly believes that the only way forward is for the President to refer the Bill back to Parliament," a statement by Collen Dlamini on behalf of the coalition said.

"The Constitution makes provision for this in the event that the President has concerns regarding the constitutionality of the Bill, which we believe he has."

This after the bill was debated before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Sport, Arts and Culture last Tuesday.

Minister Nathi Mthethwa was quoted urging the industry to come together to iron out differences over the bill and "find each other", the coalition said in its statement.

"This is a welcome development, and an indication that President Ramaphosa is not ready to sign the Bill into law," Dlamini said.

A South African Cultural Observatory presentation to the same committee, which News24 has seen, also suggested that there was not enough empirical research performed to gauge what impact the bill could have on the local industry.

Fair use provision can level playing field

Last week, ReCreateSA however argued that the bill could make studying cheaper, News24 previously reported.

ReCreateSA represents over 20 organisations, and has expressed support for the bill.

In an open letter to Ramaphosa, ReCreateSA argued that the current law has not protected the interests of local artists.

"We work in industries where many of us are systematically disempowered. We are working under apartheid-era legislation which favours historical and international monopolies which have control of money and power," the letter reads.

Local authors, writers, artists, entrepreneurs, among others, in the letter said proposals around "fair use" can level the playing fields regarding use of copyright and intellectual property.

The letter also argues the bill will decrease instances of exploitation, revamp digital innovation and will contribute to free access of information.

"When it comes to Fair Use of copyrighted materials we applaud the approach taken in the Bill, which increases access without substituting in the market of the original creator.

"We look forward to playing our part in a dynamic, inclusive and decolonised creative economy with the support of the Copyright Amendment Bill and the Performers Protection Amendment Bill."


Fin24 reported in April that loopholes needed to be closed in the bill in order to maximise the output from creatives.

The bill is currently before Ramaphosa, having been passed in both Houses of Parliament earlier this year.

The Coalition represents the Independent Black Filmmakers Collective; The Music Publishers Association of South Africa; The Publishers Association of South Africa; Academic and Non-Fiction Authors of South Africa; Printing SA; Recording Industry of South Africa; RiSA Audio; Dramatic, Artistic, Literary Rights Organisation; Writers Guild SA, Audio Militia; Animation SA and the Visual Arts Network of South Africa; and the South African Music Rights Organisation.

ReCreateSA's letter was supported by the South African Democratic Teachers Union; National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa; SAOU Teachers Union; South African Guild of Actors; Wikimedia ZA; Right2Know; ReCreateSA; Freedom of Expression Institute; SA Right to Read Coalition; Blind SA; Daisy SA; SA Library for the Blind; SA Braille Authority; SA National Council for the Blind; SA Disability Alliance; Tape Aids for the Blind; Media Monitoring Africa; Down Syndrome South Africa; UCT IP Unit; Section 27; African Union of Blind Marrakesh Treaty Committee; Library and Information Association of SA; The Safety Lab; LifeCo UnLtd; People Against Racism; Personal Managers Association ; AfroLabs; Shifty Records; Association for Progressive Communications; Creative Commons South Africa.

*This story has been updated with comments contained in ReCreateSA's letter in support of the bill.

- Compiled by Paul Herman.

Read more on:    cyril ramaphosa  |  parliament  |  copyright amendment bill

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