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Copyright Bill concepts need to be clarified – Amcham

Publish date: 07 August 2017
Issue Number: 737
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: South Africa

The American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) argued in Parliament on Friday that ambiguities and the lack of clarity in the definition of key concepts in the Copyright Amendment Bill needed to be sorted out in the interests of foreign investment. A Business Day report says the chamber made a submission to Parliament’s Trade and Industry Committee during the third day of public hearings. Amcham raised concern over undefined terms such as ‘user’, ‘performer’ and ‘producer’ and how they were to be applied in the provisions of the Bill where they were used. Attorney Herman Blignaut from Spoor & Fisher submitted that the amendments – giving users, performers and producers rights to royalties – were wrong in law as only owners of copyright were entitled to claim royalties. It was incorrect, he said, to give users and performers the right to transfer copyright when they did not own it in the first place. Amcham also raised concern over the lack of clarity on what funding by the state meant in the context of a provision in the Bill that the copyright of state-funded works would vest with the state rather than the creator of a work. Meanwhile, the Recording Industry of South Africa said some provisions would have a negative effect on the recording industry ‘and undermine the commercial basis for investment by record labels in artists’.

Full Business Day report