If copyright protection goes too far, the results can harm democracy
Price gouging is possible in SA because of our record-breaking inequality and the monopolisation of textbook markets by large multinationals
Prof Sadulla Karjiker's assertion that the government is "intent on diluting intellectual property (IP) rights without regard for the future of the country" is hogwash. Copyright is vital to ensure that creators of art and literature can benefit from their works, but if copyright protection is taken too far the consequences are damaging for creators, industry and our democracy. Imagine if President Cyril Ramaphosa was unable to quote Hugh Masekela's "Thuma Mina" in his state of the nation address without permission from bra Hugh's music company.
Karjiker's assertion betrays his proximity to vested interests within the Copyright Alliance, a group seeking to prevent South Africans from quoting, satirising, indexing, sharing and enjoying our own culture. SA is highly unequal. Two men have wealth equal to the bottom 50%; 65% of people are poor (with incomes under R50 a day). Perhaps this brutal reality escapes the professor in Stellenbosch. More than ever, we need a developmental ...