|The Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry has adopted the Copyright Amendment and Performers Protection Amendment Bills on 15 November 2018. The Bills will be debated in the National Assembly.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies says the Copyright Act, 1978 (Act No. 98 of 1978), is outdated and has not been effective in a number of areas. He says that there has been gaps identified in the access for libraries, archives and museums, education sector and for people living with disabilities.
“The non-payment of royalties for copyright works remains a concern as well as the unfair terms of contracts that affected rights holders, particularly authors. This necessitated the amendment to the legislation to be aligned with the ever-evolving digital environment; to allow reasonable access to education; to ensure access to information and make resources available for persons with disabilities; and to ensure that artists do not die as paupers due to ineffective protection. The Bill is aligned to developments at a multilateral level, international standards and introduces improved exceptions and limitations into Copyright law,” says Minister Davies.
According to Davies, the proposed amendments to the Act are to protect the economic interests of authors and creators of copyright works against infringement and to promote innovation and creativity.
The Bill provides for the sharing of royalties and prescribes standard terms of contract for the protection of contracting parties. Minister Davies adds that the payment of royalties for copyright works is important for the creative industry.
“The Bill introduces provisions, which deal with matters pertaining to collecting societies. Collecting societies will only be allowed to collect for their registered members, and all collecting societies have to be accredited with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission. It also provides for mutual agreements between South African collecting societies and collecting societies in other countries. Further, it also provides for the transformation in the ownership, management and representivity of collecting societies,” indicates Davies.
The Bill provides for the availability of accessible format copies of a work to accommodate persons with disabilities. This provision extends beyond matters pertaining to the blind and includes other disabilities such as learning disabilities, dyslexia etc.
The Bill introduces a Resale Royalty Right. This resale right means that an artist could be entitled to a royalty even when their original work is resold commercially.
The Bill proposes the strengthening of the Copyright Tribunal. It also introduces Technological Protection Measures (TPMs) to reduce incidents of copyright infringement.
The Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill
Minister Davies adds that the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill seeks to amend the Performers’ Protection Act, No. 11 of 1967.
“The Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill addresses issues relating to the payment of royalties to performers; safeguarding the rights of contracting parties; promotes performers’ moral and economic rights for performances in audio-visual fixations or sound recordings,” highlights Minister Davies.
The Bill also provides for the protection of rights of producers of sound recordings; and the prohibition of conduct in respect of technological protection measures (‘‘TPMS’’) and copyright management information amongst other proposed amendments.