Tuesday, 16 June 2009

SABC resginations, and implosion

The television content industry (represented by the TVIEC) are able to celebrate news that their march has played a part in the resignation of three members of the SABC board with more likely to follow, and the industry's demands have achieved a reply. However, the industry remains unpaid and the SABC reply appears unsatisfactory. The industry will also be depressed to learn that the SABC also owes SuperSport nearly R100 million (approx $12million) for broadcast rights to the local Premier Soccer League, which is more than the TVIEC's combined claim, and that the SABC's R2 billion government bail-out request is unlikely to materialise soon, according to reports.

For a review of how this story has unfolded, the posts South Africa: Content Industry Marches and South Africa: Content Industry v SABC will be useful.

The Mail & Guardian carries the front page headline: SABC Implodes and Screenafrica.com has published the SABC's reply.

Co-incidentally this all happens as South Africa remembers its June 16 1976 Soweto Uprising with a national holiday.

Turning to the SABC reply dealing with intellectual property, pasted from ScreenAfrica for your convenience with comments, below:

"3. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

The Corporation takes the issue of intellectual property quite seriously [quite seriously!! an answer bound to incense the TVIEC] , which is why the SABC has funded research around this matter [what matter? Is this research or advice for SABC as a client? Afro Leo remembers the post "when is a failure to exploit, exploitation? which appears to be related"] A report was received in April with recommendations, and the report was shared with the Production Industry [If anyone has a copy please share it].

We are expecting the Industry to interrogate this report, and the IP subcommittee exists to deal with these issues arising from the report. An Indaba also needs to be finalized with all stakeholders such as the SABC, Production Industry and Government being involved to engage the matter. [sounds cumbersome] It must be stressed that it is not the SABC’s sole responsibility to deal with this matter [the SABC's own policy on IP ownership?!], but together with the Industry we need to approach government for assistance and guidance." [guidance - readers will recall that the govt is still suffering embarrassment by attempting, unsuccessfully, to protect and enforce what they claim to be their own intellectual property - egs include the "Springbok emblem" and "Congress of the People" disputes]

Altogether a vague and unsatisfactory response that is unlikely to appease the TVIEC. However, it does create the possibility that SA's copyright laws may be under scrutiny by the government quite soon.

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