Artists urge President to reject Copyright Amendment Bill – Coalition for Effective Copyright

Independent assessment has shown that the bill will lead to widespread job losses

Artists urge President to reject Copyright Amendment Bill

28 August 2019

Today, the Coalition for Effective Copyright joined the Musicians Association of South Africa (MASA) and the Trade Union for Musicians of South Africa (TUMSA) in their march to call on President Ramaphosa to reject the Copyright Amendment Bill in its current form.

The purpose of the march is to reopen engagement with the government on this critical legislation. We handed over a memorandum detailing not only the inconsistencies between the bill and the constitution and the expected negative impacts of the bill, but also proposed amendments which would strengthen the bill.

In passing the bill, the legislature failed to conduct the most basic due diligence to ascertain the socio-economic impact of the bill. They also failed to hold meaningful public consultations on the impact of the bill on creators and on the industry.

For example, an independent assessment has shown that the bill will lead to widespread job losses. An estimated 1 250 jobs in publishing alone will be lost.

The bill is also inconsistent with South Africa’s obligations under international law. As a result, we recently saw multinational media corporations urging the President not to sign the bill.

We have also seen the International Intellectual Property Association urge President Trump to suspend South Africa’s preferential trade status on account of this disastrous bill. The result, were this to happen, would be a loss of trade to the value of R12 billion.

Most catastrophically, the bill will allow international companies to republish local work without compensating the creators fairly. This expropriation without compensation will stunt local knowledge production and result in the recolonization of our education system.

The constitution requires that the President refer a bill back to the National Assembly for reconsideration if he has reservations about the constitutionality of the Bill.

There are obvious and significant procedural and substantive flaws that render the Copyright Amendment Bill unconstitutional.

We therefore call on the President to honour his constitutional duty to South Africa’s creative industry. He is the last bulwark against the enactment of the fundamentally flawed Copyright Amendment Bill.

Issued by Collen Dlamini, Spokesperson, Coalition for Effective Copyright in SA, 28 August 2019