A bill to amend the 41-year-old Copyright Act has been passed by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on March 28 and now goes to the President for signature. Most of the media discussion on the bill has centered on how it will affect a legacy industry — publishing. But there has been surprisingly little discussion about the need to update copyright to cope with next-generation technologies. Big data, artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things and the fourth industrial revolution require policy responses across a wide spectrum, from energy to data privacy. The bill, appropriately, deals only with the copyright element of these issues. As a result of a process that has included four rounds of public comment, the bill includes important changes for the tech sector. But its not only the tech-specific reforms in the bill that matter to innovation. The fourth industrial revolution is expected to reduce unskilled and semi-skilled employment. Growth of in-demand skills relies...

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