New Organization Formed In South Africa To Promote The Rights Of Creators And Support Intelligent Copyright Reform
from the fair-use-is-only-fair dept
Over the years, Techdirt has written about some pretty bad stuff happening in South Africa on the copyright front. For example, there was the Business Software Alliance using made-up figures in an attempt to revise copyright law in its favor. The South African music rights organization tried to put public domain works under copyright. And — most insane of all — the South African recording industry association ran a stupid “anti-piracy” campaign called “Shoot the Pirate”, which resulted in actual violence. So it makes a pleasant change to report on some good news from the country. A new organization of creators has been formed to press for a more balanced copyright system in South Africa. They call themselves ReCreate, although apparently the group has no connection with the similar US organization Re:Create. Here are the South African ReCreate’s basic principles:
ReCreate exists to promote the interests of South African creatives with regards to copyright legislation.
As much as we are creators, we are users of existing cultural products. Currently our work can be blocked through censorship by those who claim to own our culture. Moreover we often do not not own the work we create. And many of us have been disadvantaged by an exploitative system which fails to pay us for our work.
Growing the digital economy requires innovation. South Africa is at a disadvantage to other countries with flexible copyright laws that support creativity.
We call on Government to include in the ongoing copyright reform three key issues to enable us to create the next generation of South African content for the world.
An update about the South African copyright reform currently underway can be found on the infojustice.org site. There’s also an opinion piece in South Africa’s Mail & Guardian written by some of ReCreate’s founders, in which they explain some of the problems they face under current copyright legislation, and the fair use rights they need to help them produce new works in the digital world:
Parody and satire
Incidental use of background content
Use of works in public places
Creation of educational works
Non expressives uses on the Internet, including indexing, data mining and search
Re-mixing, transforming and re-interpreting
Creation of accessible copies for people with disabilities
Adaptation to future technology
However, according to another post on infojustice.org, the South African Department of Arts and Culture has come out against introducing fair use, claiming:
Fair use by its nature is open-ended and it creates uncertainties in the management of rights. If adopted, this model will permit uncontrollable and unreasonable access to copyright materials resulting into reduction of real income for copyright owners.
Although it’s disappointing to see this kind of tired old FUD being spread, it’s great to see artists standing up for themselves like this in South Africa. For too long, the copyright companies have claimed to represents artists while doing precious little to help them create new works or earn a decent living. The founding of ReCreate is a hopeful sign that things may be about to change.