Copyright Amendment Bill

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DTI proposes drastic changes to Copyright Act

6 August 2015

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has published the Copyright Amendment Bill 2015.

The Bill introduces some drastic changes to the Copyright Act, including a list of items to receive special protection as ‘craft works’ and specific exceptions relating to parody, criticism, translations and format shifting that accommodates persons with disabilities.

Artists and designers may be glad to know that the Bill proposes a resale royalty right which cannot be waived or assigned and would entitle the creator of an artistic work to a 5% royalty on the commercial resale of that work in South Africa.

However, the Bill puts an end to copyright provisions restricting the sale of parallel imports or ‘gray goods’ and criminalises various acts, including the failure to pay royalties and the circumvention of technical protection measures. Additionally, parties will no longer be allowed to restrict non-infringing acts contractually and copyright assignments will only be valid for 25 years.

Other noteworthy changes include a prohibition on the assignment of state owned copyright and provisions allowing government to claim royalties for the use of orphan works (where no rights holder can be identified) indefinitely.

The Bill is open to public comment until 16 September 2015 and we urge interested parties to send us their views and comments for submission.

By Christine Strutt, Copyright and Trademark Attorney

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