Last week Parliament heard the Copyright Amendment Bill submissions by members of the public. We were in Parliament to hear the Copyright Amendment Bill submissions and get all the latest insight from various stakeholders on the Bill. The sessions were extremely extensive with multiple submissions by important industry players on this controversial and important Bill.
Most of the presenters of Copyright Amendment Bill submissions were in agreement that the Copyright Act of 1978 needs updating to accommodate technological advancements and be a robust and flexible piece of legislation for the information age.
Our top five insights from the Copyright Amendment Bill submissions:
1.The terminology of the Bill is problematic. It is confusing, creates uncertainty and is potentially unusable in its current form. There is confusion between the terms ‘author’, ‘owner’ and ‘user’. This creates a lack of certainty.
2. The scope of the fair use or fair dealing remains a controversial section of the bill. Proponents for an expanded fair use section motivated for it by arguing that it provides greater opportunity for innovation and greater equal access to resources. Some of the people who submitted comment were not in favour of an expanded fair use section and argued that it would undermine the fundamental economic value of the work.
3. State funded works will be owned by the state. This is a hugely problematic section for film, documentary and music creators where the only way for them to create work is to be funded by the state (e.g. the state broadcaster). Most of the presenters proposed that this section needed to be redrafted to be less broad.
Key concerns are terminology, the scope of fair use and state funded works
4. The introduction of resale royalty rights. The concept behind this introduction is in principle a good idea. However, as the section stands it is too broad and there is a lack of clarity on how it will be practically implemented.
5. There is a possible unconstitutional aspect of the Bill. The Bill allows for the Minister responsible for communication to prescribe local music content for television and radio broadcasting. This may be in conflict with s 192 of the Constitution which states that there must be an independent authority established to regulate broadcasting in the public interest (i.e. ICASA). The constitutional emphasis is on an independent body to regulate broadcasting. This may be in conflict with the Bill and may need to be tested in a constitutional limitations analysis.
Overall there were a large number of issues raised about this important Bill. The standard of the submission was exemplary and we commend the presenters on the time, detail and effort that has gone into the submissions. We await with interest to hear about the fate of this Bill.
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