The Copyright and Performers Protection Amendment Bills continue to provide some hope for the rights of actors to be entrenched in law. The Bills have, for the second time, been passed by the National Assembly and are now awaiting approval from the National Council of Provinces, which is expected by the end of September 2023.
As this day draws nearer, detractors of the Bills have been increasingly vociferous in their opposition. CCIFSA* recently led protests claiming that the Bills are designed to “rob artists” of their rights. Unsurprisingly, CCIFSA appears to have scant insight into the contents of the bills, allowing themselves to be (mis)guided by SAMRO, the collecting society accused of stealing musical artists’ royalties for decades.
The sustained resistance campaign is unsurprising in light of the far-reaching impact of the Bills, with the global academic publishing industry and the Motion Picture Association of America mounting a well-funded lobbying effort that resulted in high-level missives from both the European Union and the US Trade Representative. In the face of this pressure, President Cyril Ramaphosa was characteristically decisive in his inaction, sitting on the Bills for fifteen months before sending them back to Parliament.
SAGA made substantial inputs into the second round of Parliamentary hearings on the Bills with written submissions and oral presentations to each of the nine provincial legislatures. SAGA continues to be guided in what is most important to actors and has benefitted from insights into international copyright provided by our allies in FIA.
*CCIFSA, the Cultural and Creative Industries Federation of South Africa ,was set up by the erstwhile Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa. After being irregularly constituted, the group has continued to benefit from generous taxpayer-provided funding to the tune of many millions of Rand each year.