On 11 and 12 August extensive hearings were held in the Portfolio Committee of Trade and Industry in the South African Parliament, after a call for submissions.
A list of all submissions and presentations is available after a press release by the SA Parliament here.
IPA member, the Publishers Association of South Africa (PASA), as well as other members of the Copyright Coalition of South Africa gave presentations at the hearings. Mr Brian Wafawarowa, Chairperson, PASA, stated PASA’s support for the amendment of the outdated Copyright Act, particularly the aim to: “…protect the economic interests of authors and creators of work against infringement … It is also envisaged that the proposed legislation will reward and incentivise authors of knowledge and art.”
He noted however that using broad exceptions and fair use to “enhance access” was a blunt tool with potential unintended consequences. He presented the current situation which differed from the position presented by those who used extremes as their examples. Mr Wafawarowa highlighted that core education materials were locally produced according to curriculum requirements and were written by locally, developed by local professionals, printed by local companies and royalties were paid to local authors. In higher education, more than 70% of content was produced locally. He concluded by underlining that unintended consequence of the Bill could be huge losses for South African authors and publishers in terms of both income and jobs and that licensing of digital and hybrid resources was the way forward.
The Portfolio Committee of Trade and Industry will now further deliberate how it may amend the Copyright and Performers Protection Bills, after which a full consultation will take place in the National Council of Provinces (the 2nd chamber of the South African Parliament), followed by further consultation in the provinces themselves. Meanwhile some of South Africa’s trading partners have started to raise concerns about the possible negative impact of the Bills.