PEN South Africa Supports Petition Against Copyright Amendment Bill

28 Nov 2018
PEN South Africa Supports Petition Against Copyright Amendment Bill

PEN South Africa encourages its members to sign a PEN Afrikaans petition against the current iteration of the Copyright Amendment Bill “that is being railroaded through Parliament despite local and international opposition.”

Says PEN Afrikaans:

As authors’ associations, we are calling on our members, as well as other authors and interested parties to spread the word about this bill and sign a petition against its adoption.

We are convinced that many of the changes to the Copyright Act introduced by the Copyright Amendment Bill will have a direct and detrimental impact on all South African authors.

Further, the Bill is not in line with the international copyright treaties that South Africa has acceded to, and in all probability also runs contrary to the Constitution.

The electronic version of the Bill is available here.

The petition has been supported by a number of PEN luminaries, including the PEN International president, and some of PEN South Africa’s most luminary members.

Support by Jennifer Clement, president of PEN International

PEN International, as the oldest and largest organisation of writers in the world,  takes copyright very seriously.  One part of our PEN International COPYRIGHT MANIFESTO clearly states, “An author’s economic independence and autonomy is central to freedom of expression and encourages a diversity of voices, which in turn fosters democracy.

To deny authors the ability to earn monetary reward from their creative works is to deny the works value and their authors a livelihood. Using the intellectual property of an author without fair recompense, and in the absence of a legitimate legal exception to the author’s copyright, is theft.”


Support by JM Coetzee, PEN SA Honorary Member

I endorse the position taken by PEN, as well as by the organizations IPA, IAF, IFRRO and PASA. Please add my name to the list of signatories of the petition – signature page attached.

The Copyright Amendment Bill does not strike a fair balance between the interests of the authors and the interests of the “users” of copyright works. It is not in line with international copyright treaties. I strongly object to its adoption.

The full text of the opposition, as well as the petition, is hosted here on Litnet.