Reshaping copyright laws for the digital era
Changes needed to legislation to bring those on both sides of copyright debate into the digital era
Parliament’s attempt to update SA’s copyright legislation has become a battleground between those who rely on copyright to benefit from original creative works and those who advocate that it makes creative work expensive and inaccessible. In the music business, copyright owners (authors or entrepreneurs) are entitled to five copyrights — reproduction, adaptation, performance, broadcast and communication. There are different intermediaries for obtaining licences to these rights. "Copyrights first arose in 1454 with the Gutenberg press, which added a reproduction value metrics to performance. These two metrics underpinned the music industry up until the digital age," says copyright lawyer Graeme Gilfillan. "Then two basic types of copyright law developed. The common law copyright regime arose from the English Statute of Anne in 1710, which England exported to all its colonies and protectorates including the US. "This favoured capital as opposed to creativity. The Europeans — led by th...