Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Report on the South African Copyright Act - Shuttleworth Foundation

Thanks to tip-off from Denise Nicholson (Copyright & A2K Issues) Afro-IP is pleased send you the link to the Shuttleworth Foundation's 79 page "Report on the South African Copyright Act" which was produced by the Open Review.

"The Review engaged civil society and ordinary South Africans in a review of how they understand copyright, and how South African copyright law affects them and the work that they do.

After many discussions and workshops, and the opportunity to comment on an online wiki, the various concerns, comments and suggestions made were combined into this Report which includes a plain language review of South African copyright law, as well as a critique of the areas of the Copyright Act (referred to as the “Act”) that should be reviewed and recommendations of possible changes that should be made. The Report is not just for lawyers or copyright experts but for everyone affected by copyright law.

The huge advances made in technology (particularly in the digital realm) since the Act was passed in 1978 have also completely revolutionised the way South Africans engage with content, copyright and media. The 1978 Act passed before these changes. The Review makes recommendations that take these advances, and future development that into account.

The Report also looked at areas of the Act that are vague or poorly defined like the definition of licence, and 'fair dealing'. The Report also examines concepts inadequately addressed in the legislation; like Orphan Works, Parallel Imports and the Public Domain. All three of these areas offer important freedoms, which could improve access to learning materials. The Report couldn't cover everything to do with copyright law, but focuses on how copyright affects all South Africans.

The Open Review was carried out by the Shuttleworth Foundation with assistance from the Trade Law Centre for Southern Africa (tralac) and the Open Society Institute (OSI).

The Report is published under a Creative Commons licence that gives you the freedom to use, share and remix it. "

You can download the report in PDF format or request a copy in Open Document Format by using their contact page here.

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