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 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

Digital archival

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, 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.

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Comments on “New Organization Formed In South Africa To Promote The Rights Of Creators And Support Intelligent Copyright Reform”

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Shoot the Pirate says:

??? If your main goal is "fair use", then NOT a "creator"!

I admit headline fooled me. “Promote The Rights Of Creators And Support Intelligent Copyright Reform”, eh? Should have known better after all these years: if Techdirt is for, then it’s NOT pro-copyright. The minion leaves out much of their goals, but the “fair use” bit shows it’s simply a sly attack on copyright.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: That one's easy

Because clearly if you can’t charge for every possible use of something(education? Parody? Screw that, pay up or don’t use it!) then there’s no point in having copyright at all of course!

Nah, if I had to guess I’d say it’s just more incoherent frothing at the mouth by blue against anything they perceive TD to be for, and/or based upon a hilariously flawed take on ‘the idea of copyright’ being strictly to reward copyright owners, as if one holds that view then fair use is absolutely an attack on copyright, because it means you can’t charge for everything or hold total control.

Shoot the blue says:

Re: Re:

Finally decided to use a pseudonym, did you? (And one that celebrates violence at that, did you know that MyNameHere considered that a legitimate threat and possible CFAA violation?)

You know, I honestly gave you the benefit of the doubt at one point. Maybe some chucklefuck did actually decide to parody you at one point, but you literally cannot stand the idea that something Techdirt likes might be reasonable by the definition of artists.

DMCA voted.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: ??? If your main goal is "fair use", then NOT a "creator"!

“Copyright itself is already an attack on arts and science that fair use tries to balance.”

That argument is bunk.

Copyright is not an attack on anything. Copyright is just being USED to attack those things. Like guns, hammers, and knives… copyright is just a tool to accomplish something. You can either use a gun to hunt with, a hammer to build a house, and a knife to cut your steak with, but you can also use them to shoot someone, hammer their heads in, or stab them too!

The problem here is that the monied interests keep getting money to advance their interestes… and copyright is clearly a go to tool gain more regulatory control over content and the industry through ancillary mechanisms to protect it like DRM.

Copyright itself is just an idea, it can be used for good or bad.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 ??? If your main goal is "fair use", then NOT a "creator"!


A few centuries ago, the penalty for unauthorized copying was breaking on the wheel. It is a term most people are not very familiar with these days, but it was a form of prolonged torturous death penalty where the convict first had every bone in his body broken, and then was weaved into the spokes of a wagon wheel and set up on public display. The cause of death was usually thirst, a couple of days later.

That One Guy (profile) says:

'... Next on the tour, the Pacifism Department's gun range.'

However, according to another post on, the South African Department of Arts and Culture has come out against introducing fair use, claiming:

So, did they name that department ironically or something? Because for a department of ‘arts and culture’ to come out against something that allows the growth of arts and culture takes screwing up to an almost impressive level.

I guess the only art and culture they consider worth anything is the kind that involves the transfer of money for it’s use, rather like certain groups elsewhere on the globe.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You really have no right to complain.

On one hand you WANT government control and regulatory effort in the form of NN
On the other hand you want to destroy Copyright like it’s some malevolent evil.

When you can come to grips with your own hypocrisy then you can complain until then… you should consider keeping the ole cake hole closed, unless there is a cake in front of you.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I love how you claim they’re hypocritical for doing the exact same thing you are, that is supporting one form of government interference while opposing another.

Copyright does not just spring out of nowhere, it’s a limited monopoly right granted by the government, so if you’re so rabidly against the government interfering with things then you should be opposing it right alongside them, since ‘nuance’ is of course not a thing and it’s impossible to believe that government interference is good in some cases and bad in others without being hypocritical.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Fair use

Yes, but they’re not making all the money, and therefore they might as well be making no money at all. Not to mention it involves those filthy non-copyright owners getting their disgusting hands all over the owner’s pristine work and making tweaks to it, that alone should be enough to see what a terrible crime fair use is!


Châu says:


No person in this group talk about responsibility, if have right must have responsibility for balance. Ideas: copyright owners need pay IP tax, must register with government for copyright monopoly, must display copyright registration number on product, keep copyright registration current for people can find owner, maintenance fee every two years, government can revoke copyright if start too many frivolous lawsuit, revoke copyright if destroy own work (like BBC Doctor Who), people can’t register copyright for work from government/tax money.

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