Musicians march over copyright bill
Led by legendary music producer Gabi le Roux, they sang “This copyright is copywrong, please sir, don’t sign away our song” while on their way from Keizersgracht Street to Cape Town train station, where Ramaphosa was visiting at the time.
The marchers included singer/songwriter David Kramer, singer Vicky Sampson, Freshlyground vocalist Zolani Mahola, singer/songwriter/guitarist Tina Schouw and composer/musician Camillo Lombard, among others.
In their memorandum, drawn up under the auspices of the Trade Union for Musicians of South Africa (Tumsa), they said the purpose of the amendments to the bill were to address non-payment of royalties and the lack of formalisation of the creative industry, which led to various forms of abuse of creators.
“Despite various objections to provisions in the bill from various stakeholders in the creative industry, including composers, the Copyright Amendment Bill was passed by both houses of Parliament and the National Council of Provinces on March 28,” stated the memorandum.
The bill, in its current form, they added, would not only worsen the plight of artists and composers by shifting the power balance in favour of users, continuing the exploitation of artists and composers, but would have negative consequences for the creative-industry economy, resulting in disinvestment and ultimately job losses.
According to the memorandum, the bill’s provisions were inconsistent with the Constitution, in that the incorrect procedure had been used to process it.
They argued that it should have been dealt with as a section 76 and not a section 75 bill.
Tumsa said it firmly believed that the bill, in its current form, would destroy the creative industry and urged Ramaphosa not to sign it into law but rather to send it back to the National Assembly for redrafting.
The memorandum from Le Roux and Sampson was received by Deputy Finance Minister Mondli Gungubele on behalf of Ramaphosa.
He promised to hand it over to Ramaphosa for his consideration.