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(Amended) Copyright Amendment Bill, 2017, Tabled in Parliament

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29 June 2017 Update: The Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry has given a further extension of the deadline for the submission of comments until 7 July 2017 and the public hearings will now be scheduled during August 2017. We welcome any questions or comments to be submitted by this new deadline

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.

26 May 2017

As previously reported, a draft Copyright Amendment Bill was published for comment late in 2015. After various consultations with stakeholders and extensive comments received, the Department of Trade and Industry has now tabled the Copyright Amendment Bill of 2017 in Parliament.

The tabled Bill is a drastic improvement from the version that was previously published for comment. While the overall changes proposed remain mostly the same, the following improvements can be found in the new Bill:-

  • It takes into consideration the amendments adopted by the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act, 2013, but which have not yet been implemented and thus not incorporated in the Copyright Act as it currently stands.
  • Most references to the rights of performers have been removed, as these were dealt with by the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill, 2016.
  • The proposed provisions regarding the new species of work called “craft works” have been removed, as adequate protection for such works is already provided for in terms of the current Act and proposed amendments to be implemented in terms of the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act.
  • Many of the proposed new offences have been amended to simply be considered infringements of copyright instead of being criminalised.
  • The proposed provisions regarding ownership of orphan works passing to the State with the right to claim royalties perpetually have been removed.
  • The spelling, grammar and layout have been improved so that the Bill reads easier and makes more sense generally.

The Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry has published a notice inviting interested individuals and stakeholders to submit written comments on the Bill by 19 June 2017 and confirmed that public hearings will be held on 27, 28 and 29 June 2017.

We welcome any questions or comments regarding the proposed amendments and are happy to submit such comments on behalf of clients. Please contact us if this would be of interest.

By Adré Pretorius, Trademark Attorney

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