On 28 June 2017, our Convergence and New Media team published an article reviewing the Copyright Amendment Bill [B13-2017]. Among other aspects of the Bill, Janet MacKenzie and Judith Njuguna’s article discusses the proposed amendment to s22(3) which limits assignments of copyright to a period of 25 years commencing from the date of the assignment. Earlier this week the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry announced the 7 July 2017 extension. Current and future copyright owners will no doubt welcome the extra time to consider and potentially object to the Bill. The Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry’s full extension notice appears below:

Copyright Amendment Bill [B13-2017] - Comments deadline extended

Submissions must be received by no later than 07 July 2017.

The Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry invites you to submit written comments on the Copyright Amendment Bill [B13-2017].

The purpose of the Bill is to:

  • amend the Copyright Act, 1978, so as to define certain words and expressions;
  • allow for the reproduction of copyright work;
  • provide for the protection of copyright in artistic work;
  • provide for the accreditation and registration of Collecting Societies;
  • provide for the procedure for settlement of royalties disputes;
  • allow fair use of copyright work;
  • provide for access to copyright works by persons with disabilities;
  • provide for the protection of authorship of orphan works by the State;
  • provide for the appointment of members of the Intellectual Property Tribunal;
  • provide for the powers and functions of the Intellectual Property Tribunal;
  • provide for prohibited conduct in respect of technological protection measures;
  • provide for prohibited conduct in respect of copyright management information;
  • provide for management of digital rights;
  • provide for certain new offences;

Interested individuals and groups wishing to comment are kindly requested to forward written submissions to the Committee by no later than Friday, 7 July 2017.

Public hearings have been scheduled for 27, 28, 29 June 2017.

Comments can be emailed to Mr A Hermans at ahermans@parliament.gov.za by no later than Friday, 7 July 2017.

Enquiries can be directed to Mr A Hermans on tel (021) 403-3776.

All correspondence should be addressed to Ms J Fubbs, Chairperson: PC on Trade and Industry and marked for the attention of Mr A Hermans.

Issued by: Ms J Fubbs, Chairperson: Portfolio Committee of Trade and Industry.

Background

The Copyright Amendment Bill (‘‘the Bill’’) seeks to align copyright with the digital era and developments at a multilateral level. The existing Copyright Act, 1978 (Act No. 98 of 1978) (‘‘the Act’’), is outdated and has not been effective in a number of areas. The creative industry is impacted upon; educators are hampered in carrying out their duties; researchers are restricted to further developing research; and people with disabilities are severely disadvantaged by having limited access to copyright works. For this reason, a need exists for Intellectual Property (‘‘IP’’) legislation to be consonant with the ever evolving digital space; to allow reasonable access to education; to ensure that access to information and resources are available for persons with disabilities; and to ensure that artists do not die as paupers due to ineffective protection. The latter is supported by the experience of the power imbalance, vulnerabilities and abuse taking place in the music industry which Government was called to address. The Bill is consistent with the Draft National Policy as commented on and the recommendations of the Copyright Review Commission (‘‘the CRC’’) chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, and is linked to the National Development Plan (‘‘NDP’’), in that it seeks to ensure consistency and coherence in aligning the approach of various Government Departments to IP matters. The proposed provisions in the Bill are strategically aligned with the treaties that South Africa reviewed, amongst others, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (‘‘WIPO’’) digital treaties namely the WIPO Copyright Treaty (‘‘WCT’’); the WIPO Performance and Phonograms Treaty (‘‘WPPT’’); the Beijing Treaty for the Protection of Audio Visual Performances; and the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled. The alignment is for purposes of ensuring effective governance, social protection, employment creation and reduction of inequalities. The amendment of the Act means that South Africa will be able to accede to international treaties and conventions which require domestic legislation to be consistent with international imperatives.