File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – With only days before the Copyright Amendment Bill is expected to be adopted in Parliament, the Publishers’ Association of South Africa (Pasa) has yet again rejected the proposed legislation and called for it to be redrafted.

The amended bill would allow for the use of copyright materials with greater freedom and under more generous exceptions to copyright - generally termed “fair use”.

Pasa executive director Mpuka Radinku said the new copyright exceptions were too broad and cut off authors and publishers from being remunerated for their work.

The bill would also allow the minister of trade and industry to prescribe terms of publishing contracts, which Radinku said would create a rigid and inflexible system that interfered with freedom of contract between authors and publishers.

Pasa, the largest publishing industry body in South Africa, had previously commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers to do an impact assessment; the projected industry loss was about R2.1 billion a year.

“Pasa views the Copyright Amendment Bill as detrimental to publishing and authorship in South Africa and strongly recommends that it should be redrafted.

“The few benefits introduced by the bill are outweighed and undermined by its provisions that place constraints on authors and publishers that allow far more free uses of their works by others, and that fail to support enforcement of their rights.

“As in other African countries, 80% of publishing in South Africa is educational publishing. Copyright exceptions that are too broad cut off authors and publishers from being remunerated for their work,” Radinku said.

Pearson South Africa managing director Ebrahim Matthews said the effect of the bill would not only inhibit educational publishers from being able to operate effectively in South Africa, but also discourage the production of local educational content.

“The bill will have the unintended effect of setting back the agenda to decolonise local education,” Matthews said.

ReCreateZA, a coalition of writers, film-makers, photographers, and educational content producers, among others, are hosting a panel discussion on the bill today at 6 Spin Street from 5pm to 7pm.

Cape Times