South Africa: Activists Fear Stalled Copyright Amendment Bill Is Heading Back to Square One


The progress of the Copyright Amendment Bill and Performers Protection Amendment Bill was halted after Cyril Ramaphosa referred the bills back to Parliament for further consideration, as they did not 'pass constitutional muster and may therefore be vulnerable to constitutional challenge'.

Disability rights activists, performers and creatives have expressed dismay at the National Assembly's Trade and Industry Committee's deliberation on the long-awaited Copyright Amendment Bill (CAB)-- which they believe will effectively relegate the Bill back to the starting blocks.

The National Assembly's Trade and Industry Committee met on 12 May to discuss President Cyril Ramaphosa's concerns about the Bill -- almost a year after the president sent the bill back to Parliament for review.

The CAB, drafted by the Department of Trade, Industry and competition (DTIC), amends the outdated Copyright Act of 1978 and was realised after a decade-long process of consultation. While the committee will adopt their final report about the Bill on Friday, supporters of the Bill feel that the direction of the committee's discussion on 13 May is a major setback to their hopes of having the Bill signed into law.

The Bill's progress has been a stop-start affair provoking protests and legal challenges against the delay...

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