13 July 2021

IFLA submits comments on South Africa Copyright Amendment Bill

IFLA has submitted comments on the South Africa Copyright Amendment Bill. In these, we have highlighted the importance of a balanced copyright framework which includes flexibilities in regard to exceptions and limitations to copyright to allow libraries, archives, museums, education and research institutions to fulfil their missions in the digital age. 

With no significant updates to copyright laws since 1975 and extended discussions among all stakeholders around the Bill, IFLA has highlighted its regrets at witnessing the sending back of the bill to Parliament, delaying, even more, the development of exceptions and limitations to copyright that will benefit all citizens, including library users.

Echoing the submission of the Committee of Higher Education Libraries of South Africa (CHELSA), IFLA has reiterated that libraries rely on exceptions and limitations to function well and to ensure the relevance of our services in the digital era.

Providing access to information and educational resources, the making of copies for preservation purposes, and services and guidance to users are vital if we are to ensure equality among citizens and open cultural, educational and professional perspectives for children, teenagers and adults. The prevalence of misinfomration today only accentuates this need.

Around the world, IFLA supports a balanced copyright framework that includes exceptions and limitations, arguing this will enable the development of an ecosystem allowing better possibilities to research and to foster innovative industries.

Therefore, IFLA has called for the retention of the exceptions and limitations in sections 12A, 12B, 12C and 12D, 19D and 19C of the 2017 Bill as they will support the work of libraries.

Section 12A encompasses a general exception for fair use of copyrighted works. This marks a very positive step torward achieving a balanced copyright system. Sections 12B, 12C and 12D address the lack of exceptions and limitations for quotation, broadcasting, news reporting, translations and for an educative and academic environment.

Sections 19D and 19C introduce exceptions and limitations for Libraries, Museums, Archives and Galleries for preservation purposes, and cover the Marrakesh Treaty developed within WIPO in 2013.

IFLA has long stood for exceptions and limitations to copyright and will continue to do so, because possibliities to quote, report the news, and preserve works for the future, there is a significantly poorer possibility to share and receive resources and information, to safeguard heritage for all citizens.

Without exceptions and limitations, the ability of libraires to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to resources and information.

IFLA's response to the consultation [PDF]

CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Access to information, Copyright exceptions and limitations, Development, South Africa

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