11 August 2015

CALL FOR COMMENT: Copyright Amendment Bill - closes 27 August

Copyright is a thorny issue for archives such as SAHA. While SAHA is committed to identifying rightful copyright holders to archival materials in our collections, the question of copyright on struggle materials remains a highly contested and uncertain area with the current Copyright Act providing little clarity or guidance.

The new Copyright Amendment Bill has been drafted in an attempt to address some of these shortcomings and is now open for public comment. A preliminary reaction to the bill, recently posted on Intellectual Property Watch, warns of restrictive elements that may have serious implications for access to knowledge in South Africa. Professor Sadulla Karijker of Stellenbosch University, in a recent article published on polity.org.za, raises concerns about the short turnaround time for comment, lamenting "how “easily” legislation is drafted nowadays, without any regard to legal principles, clear legislative objectives (however ill-informed they may be), or just literal clarity." 


The Department of Trade and Industry has published the Copyright Amendment Bill for broader public comments.

This Bill seeks to amend the Copyright Act 98 of 1978, so as to:

  • amend certain definitions; to allow for the reproduction of copyright work;
  • provide for the protection of copyright in craft work;
  • provide for the accreditation and registration of Collecting Societies;
  • provide for the procedure for settlement of royalties disputes;
  • allow fair use of copyright work;
  • provide for access to copyright works for a person with disabilities;
  • provide for the protection of ownership of orphan works by the state;
  • provide for the establishment of Intellectual Property Tribunal;
  • provide for the appointment of members of the Intellectual Property Tribunal;
  • provide for the powers and functions of the Intellectual Property Tribunal;
  • provide for protection of performers’ moral and economic rights;
  • provide for the protection of rights of producers of phonograms;
  • provide for prohibited conducts in respect technological protection measure;
  • provide for prohibited conduct in respect of copyright management information;
  • provide for management of digital rights;
  • provide for the promotion of broadcasting of local content;
  • provide for certain new offences.


Comments can be emailed to Meshendri Padayachy at MPadayachy@thdti.gov.za by no later than Thursday, 27 August 2015.

Information about this call for comments was sourced from the CALL FOR COMMENTS section of the Parliamentary Monitoring Group website.