….posted on July 13 2020….
Hung by its own petard: Copyright Bill
Threatened not so much by the US administration, as Cabinet advisers would like us to believe, but more probably actioned more as per the presidency statement because of incompatibility with international agreements, President Cyril Ramaphosa has made his long outstanding move with regard to the Copyright Amendment Bill, was sitting with him for over a year for assent.
Correctly, we believe, he has returned the Bill to Parliament in the light of the Bill’s constitutional and legal deficiencies, particularly in respect of non-compliance with the international “3-step test” of the Berne Convention and WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
Long time coming
This delays further the implementation South Africa’s much-needed revised copyright legislation which has been stuck in the same groove with regard to royalties since before the digital age. But then the Presidency also sat on their hands for 13 months before deciding on the matter, a decision which for most in business and industry should have been a complete no brainer.
Sad it will be for academics and educationalists who will remain with standard limitations on published works and sad also we understand for local performers and artists but, in the case of the latter grouping, this we admit is outside of our scope and brief.
Most of the delays so far have emanated from an overwhelming and misguided socialist belief that the Bill, as it stood according to the tenets of the governing party and particularly the beliefs of the previous Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies, that the Bill should introduce an emphasis on the “protection” of local artists and performers, a matter which seemed well worth to them a disregard for international copyright norms.
As the Bill is to be returned to Parliament, the delays will obviously be compounded.
Where we were
The Copyright Amendment Bill and the Performer’s Protection Bill as tandem Bills have both considered at the same time by Parliament’s Trade and Industry Portfolio Committee, both dealing with the same broad subject but both by their names dealing with separate issues. By far the major issue was the matter of international copyright agreements and hence it was the Copyright Amendment Bill that came into the public eye because of international trading issues.
The view was originally espoused by Joanna Fubbs, stalwart and ANC chairperson for many years of the Portfolio Trade Committee on Trade and Industry that local performers and educational bodies were injured by the extensive international controls on copyright matters. She personally took on the j