South Africa and copyright

Intellectual Property IPR Regulation and Policy AfroFIA News

South Africa has a vibrant music and audiovisual industry. It is a recognised hub for international productions seeking to shoot on location and benefit from local tax incentives. Despite this, the last copyright reform dated back to the early ’70s, before the invention of the VCR. The IP legal framework was clearly out-dated and ineffective. Performers’ rights were largely ignored and their collective management, like those of authors, crippled by corruption. As the country finally set its mind to ratifying the WIPO Internet and Beijing treaties, it was time for a proper clean up and a major overhaul.

The revision of the Performers Protection Act and the Copyright Act took an astonishing four years to complete. Throughout this process, FIA partnered with the South African Guild of Actors, providing counselling and expertise to promote a better normative framework for performers, with provisions aligned with international law and practice. Recently, FIA was informed of several coordinated attempts by the industry internationally to interfere with the normative process in South Africa and prevent the final adoption of both amendment bills. By mobilising its membership, FIA managed to deflate these efforts and uphold the completion of this significant revision. The new copyright legal framework in South Africa grants extensive new rights to both audio and audiovisual performers, including provisions to make sure that they can reap the benefits of their artistic work – including the payment of royalties and equitable remuneration for certain types of use of a performance.

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