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Copyright Bill in Parliament on 18 August 2020

Some documents and audio of Parliamentary Portfolio Committee DTIC 18 August 2020 proceedings on the Copyright Amendment Bill (CAB). The Blind SA Constitutional Court action forced the President to refer the CAB to Parliament on 16 June 2020.  

DTIC Background Document

https://static.pmg.org.za/200818_-_Copyright_2020_Background_Document.pdf

Audio of Proceedings

MEDIA STATEMENT 

TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMITTEE BRIEFED ON PRESIDENT’S RESERVATIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE COPYRIGHT AMENDMENT BILL AND THE PERFORMERS’ PROTECTION AMENDMENT BILL 

Parliament, Tuesday, 18 August 2020 – The Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry today received briefings on the constitutional reservations by President Cyril Ramaphosa in respect of the Copyright Amendment Bill and the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill. 

Committee Chairperson, Mr Duma Nkosi, said the Speaker of Parliament referred the letter by the President regarding the reservations to the committee for consideration and report in terms of Joint Rule 203(1). “The committee, in terms of Joint Rule 203(2), must consider and confine itself to the President’s reservations only and not reopen the Bills in entirety for public comment,” emphasised Mr Nkosi. 

Today the committee was briefed by Mr Ebrahim Patel, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, as well as Parliament Legal Services on the matter. The committee heard the President’s reservations are focused on the classification of the Bills as they fall within the functional areas of “trade” and “cultural matters”, retrospective and arbitrary deprivations of property, the lack of public participation related to fair use, and the impermissible delegation of legislative power to the Minister in which certain sections of the Bill confer substantial discretionary powers on the Minister. 

The copyright exceptions, which may constitute deprivation of property in which it could violate the right to freedom of trade, occupation and profession as well as International Treaty Implications. 

The committee heard from Parliament Legal Services that it is of the view that both Bills were correctly classified as section 75 Bills and can report as such to the National Assembly (NA). If the committee is uncomfortable with the section 75 classification, it may report to the NA that it agrees with, or wishes to be cautious in respect of the President’s reservations and recommend re-classification of the Bills. 

In terms of the concerns with retrospectivity, the committee heard that the previous committee thought the need for the injustice to be addressed could not wait for further research and legislation. The injustice refers to where authors were unfairly exploited, in that they receive very small amounts for their work. Parliament Legal Services recommended that these clauses be amended to provide for prospective operation only. The department may then, via an oversight exercise, be required to do the research and regularly report back to the committee. 

Mr Nkosi said the committee now has a better understanding of the reservations and he is confident that the committee will be able to address the reservations expressed by the President. The committee will meet next week to discuss the way forward on the Bills. 

ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON TRADE AND INDUSTRY, MR DUMA NKOSI. 

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