Copyright Amendment Bill: identification of policy issues

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Trade and Industry

22 August 2017
Chairperson: Ms C Theko (ANC) (Acting)
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Meeting Summary

Documents handed out: List of policy issues related to the Copyright Amendment Bill (only to Members)

A long list of policy issues related to the Copyright Amendment Bill were identified by the Committee Content Adviser. This included:

  • fair dealing versus fair use, and exceptions related to educational institutions and libraries
  • accessibility for the disabled, parallel education, proposed freedom of panorama and private copying levy
  • public funding and State ownership of copyright, commissioned work and copyright ownership, royalties and economic rights, and the assignment of rights
  • compulsory licensing and the regulation of collecting societies
  • artists resale rights, and how to incorporate technological aspects; moral rights attached to translation and reduction licenses, and orphan works

The Portfolio Committee decided that a cluster of the most important issues had to be prioritised for attention by the subcommittee. Important issues singled out were fair use versus fair dealing, ownership and royalty, commissioned work and copyright ownership, and exceptions. The DA emphasised that the essential question was what the view of the Committee was on fair dealing versus fair use. The Committee had to know where it stood in the debate, as the whole debate hinged on that.  A timeframe of two weeks was decided upon.  

Meeting report

Election of an acting Chairperson
Mr Andre Hermans, Committee Secretary, announced that the regular Chairperson, Ms J Fubbs (ANC), was ill, and that an acting Chairperson had to be elected.

Ms C Theko (ANC) was elected.

Ms Theko noted that an apology was received from Mr Mbuyane, and wished the regular Chairperson a speedy recovery.

Committee Business
Mr B Radebe (ANC) noted that there had to be a subcommittee meeting that morning. A lot of things had happened on the ANC side, and the ANC study group was supposed to have met before the meeting, but there was no Chairperson. The subcommittee meeting had to be deferred to the coming Thursday or Friday.

It was decided that the subcommittee meeting would take place on the coming Thursday, during the lunch break.

The Acting Chairperson announced that the meeting would deal with the appointment of indigenous consultants and a panel of experts.

Adoption of Committee minutes

The Minutes of 7, 8, 23, 27 and 28 March; 17 and 19 May, and 13, 20, and 29 June were read through and adopted with no changes.

Policy issues
Ms Margot Sheldon, Committee Content Adviser, said that it had to be decided what the Portfolio Committee and the subcommittee respectively would have to deal with. There was a long list of issues compiled by herself and the Parliamentary Legal Adviser, Ms Charmaine Van der Merwe. It was based on issues that emerged from submissions on the Copyright Amendment Bill. According to the terms of reference adopted the previous Friday, the Portfolio Committee had asked the subcommittee to focus on certain areas. The Portfolio Committee had to look at the list to see if there was anything missing, and to give the subcommittee something to focus on for the moment. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) was asked to look at certain groupings. There was a broad list related to fair dealing versus fair use, and exceptions related to educational institutions and libraries. Other themes were accessibility for the disabled, parallel education, proposed freedom of panorama and private copying levy.  Issues related to ownership included public funding and State ownership of copyright, commissioned work and copyright ownership, royalties and economic rights, and the assignment of rights. Another theme was how the intellectual property tribunal fitted in, regarding compulsory licensing and the regulation of collecting societies. There were a range of fairly new issues like artists resale rights, and how to incorporate technological aspects; moral rights attached to translation and reduction licences, and orphan works. It had to be ascertained if the Bill was in line with the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act (IPLAA) and the proposed Indigenous Knowledge Systems Bill.

Ms Sheldon said that if the subcommittee was going to work on any big grouping, it would be faced with substantial work; hence it was presented upfront so that the staff could start preparing for the next subcommittee meeting.

Mr Radebe noted that the Content Adviser had pointed out broad subgroupings. There were 18 bullets. He did not know if the issues followed a chronological order. It was advisable to identify the biggest problem areas. He advised that the initial four issues be dealt with first.

Ms Sheldon replied that in terms of the submissions, fair use versus fair dealing and exceptions, especially educational, were the areas that had to be looked at first. Countering that was the introduction of a private copying levy. The foregoing could be made one group, including accessibility for the disabled and freedom of panorama. A big issue in the submissions was State ownership and commissioned work, when public funding was automatically State owned. Commissioned work and public funding could be grouped together. There could be a big grouping around royalties and economic rights, with reference to the matter of royalties paid to anyone who had copyright protected work. In terms of the bulk of issues, ownership and exceptions and limitations were most important.

Mr D Macpherson (DA) commented that the essential question was what the view of the Committee was on fair dealing versus fair use. The Committee had to know where it stood in the debate, as the whole debate hinged on that. The key engagement would be on that theme. There had to be broad agreement on that, before other aspects could be looked at. The Department had stated that the Performers Protection Bill would be tagged onto the Copyright Amendment Bill. The question was how well the rewritten Copyright Amendment Bill would include the Performers Protection Bill.

The Acting Chairperson agreed that engaging with fair dealing versus fair use was the correct way to prioritise.

Ms Sheldon responded that ownership and royalty or fair use and fair dealing could be dealt with first, and then exceptions after that.

Ms E Ntlangwini (EFF) said that there had to be time frames for the subcommittee to deal with each cluster. Whether issues were to be clubbed together or approached as clusters, it had to be known how much time would be granted.

Mr Radebe agreed with Ms Ntlangwini. It had to be borne in mind that the subcommittee might have to recall some of the stakeholders who had submitted. Ms Sheldon had to give guidance about clustering. The technical and administrative staff had to cluster different aspects, also to see how aspects were interrelated. It would be difficult to commit to a timeframe. There were a lot of issues to attend to. The elephant had to be cut up bit by bit. He suggested that there be a report back within two weeks.

Mr Macpherson agreed that the safe course would be to deal with fair use versus fair dealing, together with royalty rights and exceptions, as a first cluster, as it was closely linked. To lump it into a bundle or package would make it possible to know who to call back.

Ms P Mantashe (ANC) commented that commissioned work and copyright ownership also had to be prioritised.

The Chairperson noted that a group of three issues were decided on. Four were needed. Information was needed by the coming Thursday. She agreed that there had to be a report back within two weeks.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting.


 

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