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When the SA Copyright Act of 1978 came into existence the world was a different place. Apartheid was in full force, the internet did not exist and the word “meme” was merely an obscure concept in evolutionary biology. Forty years later SA is another country, but it still has essentially the same, archaic copyright law — stifling education, crushing creativity and thwarting economic progress.

The department of trade & industry (DTI) has been considering proposals for copyright reform since at least 2004. We know this because as early campaigners for access to knowledge we were in many of the early consultations with the government. At last it seemed as if the deadlock had been broken. After extensive public consultations, in March parliament passed the Copyright Amendment Bill and the Performers Protection Amendment Bill. These bills offer an urgent and necessary correction to harmful laws...

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