Printing SA is calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa not to sign the Copyright Bill, believing it will have unintended and detrimental consequences.
South Africa’s exports to the USA are at stake, triggered by the Copyright Bill. The Copyright Bill is with the President waiting to be signed into law, which will affect the intellectual property rights laws in South Africa and internationally.
The US Government has taken a decision to review South Africa’s preferential access to its markets over concerns that the Copyright Amendment Bill will threaten intellectual property rights should it be passed into law in its current form: https://www.businessinsider.co.za/us-trade-representative-to-review-sa-on-generalized-system-of-preferences-over-copyright-2019-10
Opposition parties have also indicated that the President should consider sending the bill back for amendments: https://www.da.org.za/2019/10/president-ramaphosa-taking-sa-to-the-brink-over-copyright-amendment-bill
Should the President sign the bill into law, the US government will suspend South Africa from the trade preference programme. It is estimated that at least R12 billion of the country’s exports could lose access to key US markets.
The Bill proposes the introduction of the ‘fair use’ principle, which allows for the free use of copyrighted content. In the event of copyright-infringement cases in South Africa’s courts, the offender would simply have to stop reusing the content and only pay standard royalties, whereas in the US courts they can award hefty statutory punitive damages.
Printing SA, which is part of the Coalition for Effective Copyright, has been calling on President Ramaphosa not to sign the bill. They pointed out that it will have unintended consequences as it will reduce incentives for investment in the South African publishing industries to the detriment of South African authors, publishers and stakeholders.
For more information, contact Khanyi Ntanzi at Printing SA: firstname.lastname@example.org and on the number below.