Authors Alliance Supports Copyright Exceptions in South Africa’s Copyright Amendment Bill

Posted July 13, 2021
photograph of Cape Town with buildings in foreground and Table Mountain in background
photo by Martina79 | CC0

The Parliament of the Republic of South Africa is currently considering the Copyright Amendment Bill, an update of the country’s 1978 copyright legislation. In response to an invitation from the the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, we submitted comments in support of the copyright exceptions included in the draft bill.

Our comments explained that authors can benefit from exceptions to copyright throughout the creative process and long thereafter. We shared how copying, quoting, and generally reusing existing cultural material is critically important to the production of new creative works and the advancement of knowledge. Nonfiction and fiction authors alike rely on exemptions to enable criticism, commentary, and illustration, among authors uses, to create new works and contribute to public discourse.

With respect to exceptions in the draft bill for educational and academic activities, we described the ways in which exceptions for these uses can also benefit authors, enabling them to reach wider audiences, helping them to build reputational capital, and amplifying their ability to contribute to the advancement of knowledge. And finally, regarding proposed exceptions for libraries, archives, museums, and galleries, we shared how these exceptions promote the long-term interests of authors, ensuring that their works are discoverable and preserved.

Including carefully crafted exceptions to copyright in South Africa’s copyright laws will promote a vibrant creative ecosystem and serve the public good. We commend the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa for the inclusion of these provisions in the draft Copyright Amendment Bill and look forward to tracking its progress. For the full text of our comment, click here.