A revised version of the Copyright Amendment Bill was introduced in the National Assembly on 16 May 2017 in terms of Section 75 of the Constitution.
The Copyright Amendment Bill, which was first published for comment in July 2015, has been both commended and criticised by stakeholders and experts in the field.
This revised version of the Bill seeks to make much headway in addressing the concerns previously expressed.
But critics say while the bill attempts to improve the position of authors in some cases, in many other instances it is actually taking away rights that authors and copyright owners currently enjoy.
In short, copyright is the legal protection granted to create new creations of literature or artwork. It forms part of intellectual property.— Lazarus Serobe, Managing Director at Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation (DALRO)
Lazarus Serobe, of the Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation (Dalro) explains that when you are a creator of property, you hold exclusive rights to use and exploit it as you please. He adds that you may also grant others permission to exploit or use your intellectual property on your behalf.
Copyrights have limitations too adds Serobe.
Multi-award winning singer and Samro non-executive board member, Loyiso Bala says copywriting is important to protect his creative rights and earn him a living.
He compares it to owning a building and people needing to pay rent, rather than live in it for free.
Intellectual property is supposed to protect the creator. This bill takes the control away from that protection. There are a few things I've found that are going to work against the creator instead of protect them.— Loyiso Bala, Multi-Award winning singer and Samro non-executive board member
What creates copyright in any piece of work is its existence.— Lazarus Serobe, Managing Director at Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation (Dalro)
Serobe says the 1978 Copyright Act is outdated. He says in 2009, President Zuma hosted an imibizo with creatives and musicians, alongside the police and ministerial department to find out how government can assist with protecting their work. The president then issued an amendment to relook at the copyright issue adds Serobe.
Listen to the full interview here: