Increasingly, Printing SA members’ customers protest against the use of imprints, claiming them to be ‘free advertising’. Printing SA contacted the State Attorney for his interpretation of the Imprint Act 43/1993 and received some interesting advice.

A brief reminder – the Imprint Act requires that any printer of printed matter affixes a legible notice containing the words ‘Printed by . . . ‘, followed by his/her full and correct name and the full and correct address at which he/she conducts his/her business of printing or an abbreviation of his/her name as registered with Printing SA. The printer is also obliged to inform the Federation in writing of any changes to particulars furnished in a previous application.’

The State Attorney states: ‘The requirements of Section 2 of the Act are peremptory and will lead to the criminal prosecution of the printer who does not comply. If someone induces someone else to commit an offence (such as the omission of a printer’s particulars from printed matter in contravention of Section 2 of the Act) such other person may also be prosecuted. Incitement to commit an offence is in itself also an offence.’

He proposes that printers refer to Section 2 of the Act in the display of their particulars to educate customers. This legal requirement was not requested by Printing SA; the responsibility of administering the Act was given to Printing SA by the Department of Home Affairs in 1993. The registration fee is minimal.

Printing SA understands that many advertising agencies and brokers do not want their customers to be able to identify the printers, but it cannot promote or condone non-compliance. Imprints can, however, be structured in such a way that the printer can only be identified by requesting an extract from the register held by Printing SA, at a nominal charge as prescribed in the Regulations to the Act.

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