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IAB to take on SA copyright law

IAB SA, the voluntary, non-profit association representing the interests of the South African digital industry, is taking on South African copyright law.

According to a press release sent to Memeburn, the organisation has made written submissions to the Department of Trade and Industry on the draft Copyright Amendment Bill, which was published in July this year.

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The organisation claims that the current law, which dates back to 1978 stifles innovation and creativity.

“The current Copyright Act which dates back to 1978 is fairly outdated, and it is widely acknowledged that a revision is necessary,” says Andrew Allison, Head of Regulatory Affairs, IAB SA. “Whilst the Bill is certainly ambitious and tackles a number of issues that South African intellectual property law is currently ill equipped to deal with, it does suffer from a number of significant flaws. It contains provisions that are inconsistent and contradictory, both within the Bill itself and read against the unaffected provisions of the Copyright Act, and that in other instances are excessively technical, verbose and incomprehensible to the ordinary South African.”

The local IAB chapter also says that the Bill also exceeds itself in a number of areas. “Its requirement that 80% of content carried by public broadcasters, and 60% by private, be of local origin is irrelevant in the context of copyright regulation,” the association says.

Read more: IAB SA launches tool to show what SA’s talking about online

According to Pria Chetty, Regional Director of EndCode and member of the IAB SA Regulatory Affairs Council, the current complexity of the law often results in the ignoring copyright rules and regulations, which are challenging at best to interpret and apply.

The complexity of licensing creative works, she adds, impedes digital and knowledge economy opportunities that rely on ease of transfer and distribution of copyright works.

What is needed, the IAB says, is greater transparency and clarity on copyright ownership and exploitation rules in the country, clear provisions for the legality of licences and contracts, and adequate dealing with the interplay between the law and licences and contracts.

Copies of the IAB SA’s submissions are available on the organisation’s website.

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