South Africa: SA’s New Copyright Law, Backed By Google, Is Slated By the Creative Industry

Although the latest amendments to South Africa’s copyright legislation are intended to ‘remedy all the problems of the past’ and to protect artists, they could do more harm than good.

The strangest alliance has been formed between copyright and intellectual property (IP) academics, US tech giant Google and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, which have collaborated to make South Africa’s copyright law weaker.

Opposing this are South Africa’s artists, musicians, authors, filmmakers and others within the creative industry who believe this week’s adoption of the Copyright Amendment Bill and the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill by the Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Trade, Industry and Competition has, in effect, thrown them to the wolves.

“The tragedy is that this bill has been sold as something that will remedy all the problems of the past, and is a solution to all artists’ future problems. In reality, it will harm the ability of individuals as well as small, medium and large enterprises in the creative industry to earn a living,” says Chola Makgamathe, spokesperson for the Copyright Coalition of South Africa, an alliance of at least 17 industry organisations and trade unions.

“The cards were stacked and this bill was railroaded through,”…

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