21 August 2017

South Africa: Bill to Address Non-Payment of Musicians

Photo: Zaian/Wikipedia
SABC offices in Sea Point, Cape Town (file photo).

The Copyright Bill will urgently address the non-payment of royalties to musicians as stipulated in the Farlam Copyright Review Commission, says the Department of Trade and Industry (dti).

Briefing the Trade and Industry Portfolio Committee on the dti's inputs and responses for submissions on Copyright Amendment Bill 2017 in Parliament, Director-General of the department, Lionel October, said 70 submissions regarding the bill were received.

The Copyright Amendment Bill (CAB) intends to address and resolve issues arising from the findings of the Farlam Copyright Review Commission. These issues include the non-payment of royalties, lack of formalisation of the creative industry and the related abuse, incidence of piracy, and moral and economic rights of performers related to audio-visual fixations.

"As we indicated to the Portfolio Committee, the dti received more than 70 submissions on the CAB and we are now going into the final stages of developing the final Copyright Bill. As a way forward, we are proposing that we agree that a special drafting committee be formed to draft a new bill taking into account all the inputs," said the Director-General on Friday.

He further added that the Portfolio Committee has agreed that the department must go back to the original Farlam Commission and prioritise the issues raised in that report.

The committee also agreed to deal with as many issues as they can but that the department requested them to prioritise musicians as they are not getting paid.

"The South African Broadcasting Corporation is sitting with hundreds of millions of rands which should be benefiting our artists, and that was the main reason President Jacob Zuma convened a meeting with them in 2009 to address their concerns, and the reason the dti set up Farlam Commission."

"We want to say that our first prize is for us to deal with all the issues in the report, secondly, deal with the musicians and artists, then deal with the collecting society, the regulations so that our musicians can get paid for their artistic work," said October.

The dti has also seconded the most experienced drafter of Copyright Law, Advocate Johan Strydom who will assist in drafting the new legislation.

This as the department wants to complete and submit the CAB in the new year so that it can be tabled at the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

The Farlam Copyright Commission on the effectiveness of collective copyright management presented a report that was ultimately adopted by Cabinet.

The dti embarked on a process to implement the Farlam Copyright Commission's report which includes the current legislative reform and non-legislative interventions.

In addition, the department's Copyright Commission task team consists of the Departments of Arts and Culture and Communications in order to create a coordinated effort to implement the Commission.

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