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Writers ask Parliament to reject Copyright Amendment Bill

todayFebruary 29, 2024 31

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South African authors, readers, and stakeholders in the book industry have written to the National Assembly imploring them to protect the creatives by rejecting the Copyright Amendment Bill should it be put to vote today.

Concurrence on the bill by the country’s lawmakers is scheduled for this afternoon.

The authors say the bill’s proposed hybrid model of copyright exceptions goes too far and threatens to weaken copyright protection.

They say the bill fails to strike a balance that’s needed in the copyright law.

They fear that the local book industry will suffer, with projections of a 33% decrease in book sales and a 30% decline in employment, if the amended regulation’s provisions become law. 

The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) adopted the bill in September 2023.

https://www.parliament.gov.za/storage/app/media/uploaded-files/Copyright%20Amendment%20Bill%20Draft.pdf 

The organisations, PEN South Africa, PASA and ANFSA say they will be heading to Parliament speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s office this afternoon to submit a petition made up of more than 4 200 signatures.

One of the world’s leading networks of authors CISAC has joined the masses in supporting South Africa’s creatives calling for the National Assembly to reject the bill.

The international organisation says, if adopted, the bill will harm South Africa’s creative community.

The Copyright Amendment Bill is the first comprehensive effort to modernise South Africa’s copyright law in 50 years.

The organisation says despite protests from the creative community over the last few years, the Bill remains flawed.

“This will have serious economic consequences for those who make a living in the creative industries, and will endanger the next generation of creators.”

CISAC says creators in South Africa deserve to be protected to the same level as their international counterparts.

Novelist and poet Dr Zakes Mda elaborates on the challenges they could face.

Written by: Lindiwe Mpanza

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