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Minister Davies' Response to POSA's Petition Requesting the Minister to amend Copyright Laws

 

For Immediate Release
17 August 2011

The Performers Organisation of South Africa Trust (POSA) launched a petition, on 18 April 2011, calling on the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, to amend the copyright legislation to allow about R100-million in unpaid Needletime royalties to be paid out to the country’s recording artists and record companies. The petition was hugely supported by recording artists, independent record companies and copyright experts.

The petition was presented to the office of the Minister on 6 June 2011. The petition was accompanied by an analysis of the legislation and regulations governing the administration of Needletime Rights. The analysis pointed out the lacunae (loopholes) in the legislation and the regulations. POSA also presented proposed amendments to the relevant sections of the legislation and the regulations.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, has responded to POSA's request to amend copyright laws to ensure the free flow of Needletime Rights royalties. The letter from the Minister states that the Department of Trade and Industry ("the dti") has commenced with the process of reforming the Intellectual Property system including the copyright regime. The letter also states that the draft IP policy will be placed before Cabinet for approval, after which wider public consultations will take place. The Minister expects the new IP policy to be in place by 31 March 2012.

The letter also states that the Minister has established the Copyright Review Commission (the CRC) to make findings and recommendations. The mandate of the CRC hinges on the need for collecting societies to distribute collected royalties efficiently and effectively. The model to be recommended, according to the Minister, will probably be based on good law and address POSA's concerns. The letter concludes by stating that the reform and review processes will inform how the IP system, including the Copyright Act and the Performers' Protection Act, should be amended to cater for the needs of all stakeholders.