What businesses does this affect?
All publishers of books and journals
What is it?
South Africa, Australia, Ireland and Canada have all been reviewing their copyright laws.
• South Africa: A draft Copyright Amendment Bill has been published and introduced into Parliament (16th May 2017) which will introduce Fair Use into South African copyright law; introduce a raft of new exceptions to copyright, and amend rules around parallel importation. Parliamentary hearings on the Bill have now taken place with questions arising from both sides about where enforcement falls within the Bill. The Publishers Association of South Africa has meanwhile released a report from PwC on ‘The expected impact of the ‘fair use’ provisions and exceptions for education in the Copyright Amendment Bill on the South African publishing industry’ which was presented during the Parliamentary hearings.
• Australia: Copyright reform and the introduction of fair use is creeping back onto the agenda with the Fair Use lobby having made inroads. For example, the Greens have reversed their position and are now supporting fair use. While colleagues in Australia place as ‘low’ the risk for immediate change in Australian law, there is concern that change in the medium-term is inevitable. The question is whether creator-rights lobbying will result in an expanded fair dealing regime or fair use.
• Canada: The Copyright Modernization Act which introduced a series of damaging reforms to the Canadian copyright regime is due to be reviewed in November (five years after coming into force). However, there has been no announcement regarding the process for this review. Unofficially, we have learned that there will be informal consultations with stakeholders but this is not confirmed. In the meantime however the Government of Canada has announced a public consultation on proposed reforms to its copyright board. It is noted that collective rights management is outside of the scope of this consultation.
Why is it happening?
We are struggling to pinpoint an exact reason behind these reviews but believe it to be the response to extensive lobbying by the library and education communities who are experiencing stressed budgets.
What timelines should I be aware of?
• South Africa: Bill expected to be passed by the end of the year.
• Australia: no set dates.
• Canada: Public consultation runs until September 29th.
How might it affect your business?
A strong copyright framework is vitally important to maintaining a successful and growing publishing industry. Copyright allows publishers to see a return on their investment and allows writers to be paid. If this is weakened, there will be less money available to pay writers and invest in new works and products.
Where do I go for more information?