Update On Copyright And Performers’ Protection Amendment Bills

The future of our industry hangs precariously in the balance with the Copyright & Performers’ Protection Amendment Bills set to be signed into law by year-end. In recent weeks, the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), DTIC and the Parliamentary Legal Advisor reviewed concerns raised by the Provinces about the Bills – all of which were dismissed. The Committee’s majority members closed ranks, voting to adopt the mostly minor changes the Legal Advisor proposed without resolving any of the serious concerns raised by Provinces and industry organisations such as the IPO.
One small but important success from our lobbying is that the royalties provision will change from ‘Statutory Royalties’ (legally required to pay royalties, no option to contract out of royalties) to ‘Royalties OR Equitable Remuneration’ meaning flexible remuneration options are possible, as is the international norm. Government clarified that it views royalties as a “profit or turn-over share” to be calculated from all commercialisation activities, as opposed to how it is currently worded (as a share of a royalty received by the copyright owner from a third party).  


Other, highly problematic, provisions remain in the Bills such as ‘Fair Use’ which opens the door to wholesale use of your content without approval or payment, and the requirement to register and report on every single act of commercialisation of a production or face hefty criminal sanctions: fines of 10% of your annual turnover and 5 years in gaol!

In all likelihood, the minor revised versions will be adopted, final Provincial voting mandates will be settled in September and the Bills adopted by October/November, then sent to the President for his assent. So the next two months are our very last chance to get our message heard by the Provinces and the President.

We, your industry and all organisations in the Creative Industries, urgently need your help to spread the message by making the “ACT NOW – Stop the Copyright & Performer’s Amendment Bills” campaign go viral. Please like, follow and share all the posts on  FacebookYoutube, Instagram and LinkedIn

We can’t complain when the Bills come into effect and our industry suffers, if we – all of us – haven’t done everything in our power to convince government that these ‘Kill Bills’ threaten the future of the industry and all who work in it.