Copyright Act, Amendments mooted

South Africa – Take Note!


THE APARTHEID-ERA Copyright Act was designed to keep intellectual property out of the hands of producers of content and in the hands of big corporations.

Latest draft amendments issued by the South African government merely expands the ambit of the act, with scant attention to the rise of permissive “copyleft” licensing. Even worse, the amendment could fraction what little remains of the public domain or knowledge commons.

Those creators who wish to license their works under a permissive license are in for a shock. Since the act operates as if in a vacuum, as if several schemes under the knowledge commons do not exist or are not relevant, (read Creative Commons, GPL) — the amendments thus enforce resale royalties without reference to permissive licensing (unless you happen to be disabled), with the unintended consequences of making such licenses unenforceable.

In one stroke of a pen, the proposed Copyright Amendment Bill could make copyleft licensing…

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