South Africa: Copyright Bill - a Victory for Creatives, a Slapdown for Big Tech


The decision by President Cyril Ramaphosa to refer the Copyright Amendment Bill back to Parliament is a temporary victory for the cultural and economic interests of South African artists in the face of intense international lobbying.

Recently, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa issued his long-awaited decision about the Copyright Amendment Bill sitting on his desk, and wisely sent the bill back to Parliament, based on the perceived constitutional infirmities as to both substance and process. The official statement noted:

"The President also has reservations that several sections of the Copyright Amendment Bill may constitute retrospective and arbitrary deprivations of property in that copyright owners will be entitled to a lesser share of the fruits of their property than was previously the case.

"President Ramaphosa is concerned as well that substantial amendments effected to various sections of the Bill -- including Section 12A which deals with the fair use of a work or performance of a work -- were not subjected to public comment before the final version of the Bill was published.

"Other reservations cited by the President include copyright exceptions provide for in the Copyright Bill that may constitute arbitrary deprivation of property; may violate the right to freedom...

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