Copyright Amendment Bill under the spotlight

Copyright Amendment Bill under the spotlight
22 Apr 2019

Government has assured stakeholders that none of the provisions in the Copyright Amendment Bill were intended to negatively affect growth in the creative industry.

The trade and industry and arts and culture departments emphasized this during a recent meeting with stakeholders on the bill and the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill.

Stakeholders had recently expressed concerns about provisions contained in the bills and their potential impact on the industry.

The Copyright Amendment Bill was passed by parliament and sent to president Ramaphosa for assent in March 2019.

The bill was tabled in parliament in May 2017.

It aims to amend the Copyright Act of 1978 so as to:

  • define certain words and expressions;
  • allow for further limitations and exceptions regarding the reproduction of copyright works;
  • provide for the sharing of royalties in copyright works;
  • provide for the payment of royalties in respect of literary, musical, artistic and audiovisual works;
  • provide for resale royalty rights;
  • provide for recordal and reporting of certain acts;
  • provide for the accreditation of collecting societies;
  • provide for a mechanism for settlement of disputes;
  • provide for access to copyright works by persons with disabilities;
  • provide for the licensing of orphan works;
  • strengthen the powers and functions of the Copyright Tribunal;
  • provide for prohibited conduct in respect of technological protection measures;
  • provide for prohibited conduct in respect of copyright management information;
  • provide for protection of digital rights;
  • provide for certain new offences; and
  • provide for matters connected therewith.

The Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill was also passed by parliament and sent for assent in March 2019.

The bill was tabled in parliament in December 2016.

It aims to amend the Performers’ Protection Act of 1967 in order to:

  • insert, delete or substitute certain definitions;
  • provide for performers’ economic rights;
  • extend moral rights to performers in audiovisual fixations;
  • provide for the transfer of rights where a performer consents to fixation of a performance;
  • provide for the protection of rights of producers of sound recordings;
  • broaden the restrictions on the use of performances;
  • extend the application of restrictions on the use of performances to audiovisual fixations;
  • provide for royalties or equitable remuneration to be payable when a performance is sold or rented out;
  • provide for recordal and reporting of certain acts and to provide for an offence in relation thereto;
  • extend exceptions from prohibitions to audiovisual fixation and sound recordings and include exceptions provided for in the Copyright Act, 1978;
  • provide for the Minister to prescribe compulsory and standard contractual terms as well as guidelines for a performer to grant consent under this Act;
  • provide for prohibited conduct and exceptions in respect of technological protection measures and copyright management information respectively;
  • provide for further offences and penalties;
  • substitute certain expressions;
  • provide for transitional provisions; and
  • provide for matters connected therewith.

At the recent meeting, the departments pointed out that the proposed legislation sought to address the abuses many creators have faced over decades.

“There was an overall consensus that the plight of the creators was important and that the legislation should benefit and protect the creators.”

With regard to concerns around the fair use clause, the departments indicated that the four factor test and technological protection measures would help to prevent unauthorised access or use of copyright works.

The departments added that, should the president sign the two bills into law, “regulations will be developed to address the concerns raised by industry and they will be consulted upon widely”.

See also: Copyright Amendment Bill passed

(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
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