Monday, 28 September 2015

Significant damages awarded in software infringement case in RSA

It's not often that we get a case involving copyright enforcement in the software space especially against a government department, by a local software developer and where significant damages are awarded. In the recent case of Quill v Randfontein Local Municipality (RLM), local software developer (Quill) sued RLM for copyright infringement in respect of their BIQ software product and in the process obtained over R10million (-+$1million) in damages (a large amount by RSA standards).

Five key points to be canvassed shortly by Nic Rosslee in this week's #SandtonDiscussion at 9am CAT are:

  • the nature of copyright in software in South Africa as a separate category of work
  • the inadequacy of RLM's defenses
  • benefits of using trial proceedings under these circumstances
  • the court's interpretation of a reasonable royalty
  • the refusal to grant leave to appeal 
The timing of this case is apt in that it endorses the need for education (even within government departments) about the need to pay attention to software licenses. A recent post on the work of Amanda Lotheringen (DTI) and the Billa Coetsee (BSA) whose teams have launched a world first compliance campaign explains more about that here.

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Tune in at 9am for more. 

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