Ramaphosa petitioned not to sign Copyright Amendment Bill into law

16 April 2019 - 14:20
By Mpumzi Zuzile
Image: 123RF/alexskopje "Our writers will stop writing. Our singers will stop signing and our artists will stop drawing," warns the Coalition for Effective Copyright.

The Coalition for Effective Copyright has petitioned President Cyril Ramaphosa not to sign the Copyright Amendment Bill into law. 

At a media briefing at Constitutional Hill on Tuesday, the coalition's spokesperson Collen Dlamini said if the bill was signed into law it would amount to expropriation of local content without compensation.

"SA creatives will no longer be paid for the content they create. Our writers will stop writing. Our singers will stop signing and our artists will stop drawing. Big global tech companies with access to an abundance of cheap local content will be the winners," Dlamini said.

Dlamini said the bill would also fragment the rights in sound recordings, meaning substantial catalogues of recorded music would simply become unusable, ending the revenues they generated for composers, performers, songwriters, publishers and producers alike.

The coalition comprises writers, book and music publishers, film directors, producers, musicians, performing artists, film and television workers, content creators and business people.

These include representatives from heavyweights like Kagiso Media, NB Publishers, Sony, Warner, Universal, Juta, the Recording Industry of SA, the Independent Black Filmmakers Collective, Media24 Books, DALDRO, the Music Publishers' Association of SA, the Visual Arts Network of SA, the David Gresham Entertainment Group, the Academic and Non-Fiction Authors' Association of SA, Sony/ATV, Shuter & Shooter, the Publishers' Association of SA (PASA), and Pearson SA.

A group of artists have also produced a single called "Vikela Thina", which means "protect us". The single features Kwesta of Ngudu fame, The Soil, Zolani Mahole of Freshly Ground, Jimmy Nevis, Ntando, Lady Zamar, Vicky Sampson and Arno Cartens.

Radio and television personality Bob Mabena said the single was a direct response to Ramaphosa's slogan "Thuma Mina".

"All we ask from the president is to protect us," Mabena said.

The Trade Union for Musicians of SA (Tumsa) said late in March that it would not give up its fight for the rights of musicians and other creatives in the industry.

A group of 100 musicians and composers staged a protest in Cape Town to express their discontent about certain sections of the Copyright Amendment Bill.

Tumsa's Gabi le Roux, who has been in the music industry for 42 years, said the bill was unconstitutional in its current form.

"We're fighting the broad description of 'fair use'. Anybody can just say 'look, I'm going to infringe this copyright, and I'm just going to say it was fair use'. A poor musician has to go fight that in court," Le Roux said.