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Amendments to Copyright Act in the Pipeline

August 14, 2017

Department of Trade and Industry

A Copyright Act Amendment Bill will be tabled in parliament during the current financial year.

The trade and industry department revealed this during a briefing on corporate regulation to the trade and industry department in parliament.

The proposed amendments would flow from the Copyrights Review Commission set up in 2011 to probe the distribution of royalties to artists.

Artists were concerned that royalties were not being properly distributed to the rightful owners of copyright by collecting societies.

The commission came up with a number of recommendations including that the act and associated legislation must be reviewed to bring it into line with latest developments in the copyright field as well as the need for one collecting society per set of rights for all music rights.

The commission also wants to see more local content on public, private and community radio stations.

The department announced that Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act Regulations are being drawn up to assist in the protection of indigenous knowledge.

The act was signed into law in December 2013.

The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act aims to:

• Improve the livelihoods of indigenous knowledge holders and communities
• Benefit the national economy
• Prevent bio-piracy
• Provide a legal framework for protection and empowerment of local communities
• Prevent exploitation of knowledge
• Raise awareness within communities of the importance of indigenous knowledge for development
• Establish community trusts
• Facilitate the recording, documenting and storage of indigenous knowledge

The act will also aim to introduce an alternative dispute resolution mechanism into all areas of intellectual property.

The plan is for the act to come into effect during the current financial year after the council and National Trust Fund have been established.

The department also revealed that the Intellectual Policy Framework was being finalised.

The consultation process was drawing to a close after which the policy would be placed before cabinet for final approval.

The framework will “harmonise IP legislation and laws dealing with IP in relation to access to medicine, education, exceptions, interface between competition and IP, consumers and IP”.