Can a website provider use third-party content without permission?

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Can a website provider use third-party content on its website without permission from the third-party content provider?

No. This would amount to a contravention of the Copyright Act 98 of 1978 if the content as the copyrighted work was first published in South Africa or made by a “qualified person” (a South African or company registered and incorporated under the laws of South Africa).  The responsible Minister has, however, in Regulations made in terms of section

[private]37 of the Act, made provision whereby the Act applies also to works of foreign origin in the same way as it applies to those works first published in South Africa.  In terms of these Regulations, the Act will apply to those countries listed in a schedule to the Regulations if the content is first published in that country listed in the schedule.

Website content, whether it be text, music or graphics are all forms of works which are subject to copyright protection.

Reproduced with permission from Law Business Research. This article was first published in Getting the Deal Through – e-Commerce 2009, (published in August 2008 – contributing editor Robert Bond). For further information please visit

By | 2017-05-21T16:14:14+00:00 September 27th, 2008|Categories: Intellectual Property Protection|Tags: , , , , |