Copyright Bill holds ominous implications for artists

2015-09-21
Adv Anton Alberts

The new Copyright Bill holds ominous consequences for all artists in South Africa and comes down to a song such as Steve Hofmeyr’s “Pampoen” will one day automatically belong to the state if the singer is no longer alive, Adv. Anton Alberts, the parliamentary spokesperson on trade and industry says.

The sinister Bill was quietly published in last month’s Government Gazette. It contains various worrying aspects, of which the most important is that inheritance of copyright goes to the state.

Adv. Alberts says this affects all artists such as writers, film makers, photographers, sculptors, painters, musicians etc.

According to media reports today, the Bill of the department of trade and industry stipulates that ownership of all copy right after a person’s death will automatically and permanently be transferred to the state. As far as it is known there is no such rule in any country in the world.

The Bill furthermore determines that the state cannot in any way give up this ownership by, for example, selling it. It is the state’s exclusive property to do with it in accordance with its own discretion.

Another stipulation of the Bill is that it makes provision for an Intellectual Property Tribunal with wide-ranging powers and the establishment of a required minimum for locally produced content for the broadcasting industry.

This content for public broadcasters is set at 80% while it is 60% for private broadcasters, with heavy punishment for institutions who do not adhere to it. If it realises, viewers could prepare themselves for a myriad of repeats – much more than what the case is at present.

Adv. Alberts says the Bill is one of a long list of bills with a communist slant which is aimed at gaining control over everything possible to the detriment of citizens.

“The FF Plus will oppose it in the parliamentary portfolio committee for trade and industry on which I serve.

“We invite all artists to register their opposition by sending an e-mail to; help@vfplus.org.za with the title “Copyright” and the person’s name, surname, contact details, e-mail address and the nature of his/her industry in order that an organised campaign opposing this Bill could be launched,” Adv. Alberts said.

 

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