The Copyright Amendment Bill presented to the National Assembly on May 16 2017 introduces new provisions allowing legalised and permanent expropriation of copyright works by the state. According to the Department of Trade and Industry, one of the aims of the bill is to remedy the inefficiencies within the creative industry resulting from outdated copyright legislation, to allow reasonable access for the purposes of education, and to remedy the restrictions placed on researchers to develop their research. While there is no argument about the need to update SA’s copyright laws for the internet age — this has been on the cards since the late 1990s — many of the proposed amendments in the bill are confusing, contradictory and will fall short of the stated objective. One set of amendments, which has nothing to do with updating the country’s copyright laws, is that of Section 5(2) of the Copyright Act that expands the ambit of vesting the state with copyright ownership for "works made und...

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