Joint Statement from PEN SA and PEN Afrikaans Regarding New Developments Around SA Copyright Law
18 Jul 2016
When the Copyright Amendment Bill was tabled last year, both PEN SA and PEN Afrikaans submitted comments (read PEN SA’s statement here) and informed their members, consisting of writers, publishers, translators, editors and journalists, of the possible detrimental effects the proposed bill could have on the exclusive rights of copyright owners and their means of deriving income from their work. Legal experts were critical of the proposal to invest perpetual copyright in the state when the owner of the copyright dies or cannot be found. The other main concerns were the introduction of fair use for educational purposes, which allows works to be reproduced without compensation or permission if that use is for educational purposes, and the introduction of a compulsory state licensing mechanism, which does not require the normal contractual consent of the copyright owner.
The revised bill, which has not been made public yet, has been approved by Cabinet and will be tabled in August 2016. Both PEN centres hope that the comments submitted on the Copyright Amendment Bill were taken into account and are looking forward to seeing the revised bill.
A meeting on the future framework for intellectual property in South Africa will be held by Nedlac (The National Economic Development and Labour Council) on Wednesday, 20 July 2016, in Johannesburg. A representative of PEN SA and PEN Afrikaans, Catrina Wessels, will be attending the meeting in order to keep authors informed about the latest developments.
PEN South Africa and PEN Afrikaans aim to keep their members and the public informed about the new bill and want to ensure that the interests of authors are duly considered in any amendments to our copyright law.