Fact vs Fiction
We are opposed to the Copyright Amendment Bill & Performers Protection Amendment Bill in South Africa, and we want to clear up some misconceptions that have been circulating about these bills. Here are the facts:
THE BILLS ARE CONTROVERSIAL
The idea that the bills are controversial is incorrect. In reality, almost the entire business end of affected industries opposes the bills because they are flawed and will result in less work for everyone.
THE BILLS WILL TAKE SA INTO THE 21ST CENTURY
The notion that these bills will take South Africa into the 21st century is also false. Instead, they will lead to a bleak future for the creative industries and make South Africa lag behind in the global creative economy.
THE BILLS ARE PRO-POOR
The claim that these bills are pro-poor is untrue. In reality, they will only make life harder for the poor by reducing work opportunities.
THE ANTI-BILL LOBBY REPRESENTS BIG BUSINESS
The anti-bills lobby doesn’t represent foreign interests or big business. Instead, it represents thousands of small and mostly black-owned businesses, along with large businesses, all working to create employment opportunities in the creative industries and satellite economies. It could be argued that the pro-bills lobby is actually made up of megalithic companies that stand to gain the most from these bills being passed.
FAIR USE EXISTS ELSEWHERE IN THE WORLD
The assertion that fair use exists elsewhere in the world is correct, but not as contained in these bills. This provision is a hybrid mess that will result in wholesale, and undefendable, copyright infringements.
ACTORS WILL BE BETTER OFF
The idea that actors will be better off by getting a share of profits is a fallacy. Instead, they’ll receive lower upfront payments with no guarantees of future royalties, and there will be fewer opportunities for them under these bills. Royalties on nothing equal nothing.
EXTRAS ARE EXCLUDED
The claim that extras are explicitly excluded from consideration as performers in the Beijing Treaty is also false. Both the PPA, PPAB, and Beijing Treaty use the same broad definition, which would definitely include “extras.”
THE FLAWS CAN BE FIXED WITH REGULATION
The notion that the flaws in the bills can be fixed with regulations is incorrect. Regulations are standards and rules adopted to govern how laws are enforced. They cannot change the fundamental, and in this case, seriously flawed provisions in the laws.
THE BILLS ARE INTERNATIONALLY ALIGNED
The assertion that these bills are internationally aligned is false. They do not pass the Berne Convention three-step test, and they contain provisions that will make South Africa a global outlier. This will be a significant deterrent to working in or with South Africa.
THOSE WHO OPPOSE THE BILLS ARE RESISTANT TO CHANGE
We support government’s initiative to update our laws to legislate for improved legal protections for South Africa’s creatives and performers, and to meet the challenges of the digital age. The Bills fail to achieve these objectives and will instead result in large-scale deprivations of rights, enable content piracy, impose serious limits on contractual freedoms and harm the very persons that government claims would benefit from the legislative reform.