Department of Trade and Industry's Anti Piracy Campaign
11 Aug 2010
Ms Thandi Tobias Pokolo, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry briefed the media on the Department’s proposed new Anti Piracy Campaign. The campaign would see the creation of a commission to prevent intellectual property theft predominantly in the music industry.
Q: What interaction have you had with the organised industry of musicians like the South African Music Rights Organisation? How will you arrest piracy defaulters, will there be a specific aim at arresting “pirates” as opposed to ordinary citizens?
A: The Deputy Minister replied that she had convened a meeting of major stakeholders in the music industry on 7 April this year where issues were raised concerning information protection. The Deputy Minister said that where wrongdoing was suspected, she expected people to report it to the proposed commission. Further information about the focus of the commission would be revealed at its official launch.
Q: How great is the scope of piracy in South Africa? How much revenue is lost annually to pirates?
A: The Deputy Minister replied that she could not answer the question of how big the scope of piracy was due to the fact that the Department did not have investigative functions. Through collaboration with the Department of Police and Customs, more would be done to establish what the scope of the activity was.
Q: What will the Anti Piracy campaign seek to do? What will the proposed commission do to prevent piracy?
A: The Deputy Minister said that the difference in the commission coming into being would be that instead of having a scenario where artists themselves played a role in arresting pirate operators, the commission would formally perform that function and ensure that the rights of artists were suitably protected.
Q: Are syndicates foreign based or mostly local?
A: The Deputy Minister said that she could not comment on the question posed due to the fact that the investigative aspect of establishing the magnitude of the piracy problem was yet to take place.
Q: What role will the Companies and Intellectual Property Rights Registration (CIPRO) play in the new campaign? Is the new information technology at the Department sorted out?
A: The Deputy Minister admitted that there had been problems with CIPRO but noted that the registration of companies could be done manually as well as via computer.
Q: Will this commission be permanent? What powers will it have?
A: The Deputy Minister said that the permanency of the commission would be determined by the magnitude of the problems it encountered.
Q: Is there a problem with cooperation with SAPS and other government department set to be involved in this project?
A: The Deputy Minister refused to address problems outside her department.
Q: How effective will law enforcement deployment be? Will hawkers and unlicensed sellers be arrested?
A: The Deputy Minister said that those questions would be answered at the launch of the commission. She was still working on the terms of reference with the Minister and all would be revealed at the launch of the commission. The Department wanted to educate people as to what is counterfeit and what is genuine in a greater effort to prevent piracy.
Q: What sort of pressure are you going to bring on internet service providers to prevent piracy?
A: The Deputy Minister replied that the Department did not own the intellectual property rights to the internet, thus the task of regulating pirated goods and illegal downloads fell to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) which ultimately dealt with internet issues in the field of fraud.
The briefing was adjourned.
STATEMENT BY DEPUTY MINISTER THANDI TOBIAS POKOLO
Last year President Zuma convened a sectoral meeting to address South African Artists and Government departments and to give the mandate to address challenges facing artists.
Amongst issues raised in the meeting, piracy was high on the list, followed by discontentment on distribution of royalties by collecting societies which artists blamed as a cause leading to artists dying poor, artists also complained about little government support in addressing their challenges.
Subsequent to that, my office was inundated with calls from artists requesting intervention on this matter. I therefore convened a sector meeting to assess and put into context the concerns raised and to align them with the specific mandate of the department of Trade and Industry (the dti).
In my fact-finding mission, I analysed the generic allegations made against collecting societies, for example, the pending case of Brenda Fassie's estate which is still in the courts of law, other concerns raised was on law enforcement and on abuse of Intellectual Property rights
Therefore, my observations will only need to be supported by evidence for me to conclude whether there's any wrongdoing on the side of collecting societies hence I decided to establish a commission to investigate these allegations and in relation to Intellectual Property rights, this matter does lies in the hands of the dti, therefore I invited different Ministries to a roundtable to discuss and resolve these matters which I believe will take place in due course
I will also launch a new Anti- piracy Campaign in September this year which details thereof will be provided at the Media Breakfast which will take place at the venue and the date of the launch, at the same launch the names of the commissioners will be announced and its scope will be tabled to give effect to its work.
I also need to mention upfront that the dti as part of the government's commitment to a new approach to working smart, commits to do its part to help the sector to formalise, as the President's concern last November was that the industry is not organised. This will be done through assigning companies to register through our cooperatives program, we will also put incentives like trade fairs/exhibitions, trade and State visits as part of opportunities.
This, we are doing in changing the way government works, the launch will go under the theme, "New Approach for doing things Faster and Smarter"
May I now inform you who are the stakeholder departments that we are trying to work with:
1. South African Police Services
To be responsible for investigations and confiscation of counterfeit and pirated products and arrest of syndicates and perpetrations of piracy to avoid artists taking the law into their own hands and suffering defeat as it was the case in the past.
2. Department of Arts and Culture
To provide social security plans and strategy as this department is the lead Department of this Industry.
3. Home Affairs
To deal with customs matters through our borders
4. South African Revenue Services
To deal with tax clearance certificates
Over and above, the dti is the custodian of both the companies act and Intellectual
Property Right Act which was recently tabled to Parliament for consideration.
5. Dept of Communications -
Which will be responsible for needle time regulations.
I also extend an invitation to the South African Press to take an interest in exposing elements of corruption by exposing activities not only by small business but by syndicates that are involved in piracy, your participation in the launch will highlight the significant role that the public needs to play in the public, private partnership in combating crime, but also in enriching economic development for our citizens. Therefore we look forward to have you not only for the Media Breakfast but to sit down for the plenary session on the closing day were I will be presenting the declaration on the resolutions, especially those affecting the dti.
I thank you for your time and for attending this briefing and hope that this matter sends a positive report to the public to allay fears of artists as this is work in progress, and also to implement the decisions of last year's Presidential sector meeting which mandated the Department of Trade and Industry to be the champion of this project.
I thank you
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