23 February 2020
The South African Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU), the largest union in the education and public service sector shall join activists, academics, actors, artists and other creatives in a picket outside the United States Embassy on Monday, 24th February 2020 against the pressure the US is putting on South Africa not to sign the Copyright Amendment Bill.
The United States has been delaying to conclude the benefits review of the Generalised System of Preferences which is in favour of South Africa and the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) has been lobbying American Trade Representatives to sanction South Africa if the Copyright Amendment Bill is signed. The IIPA represents massive publishing corporations, Hollywood and other major corporations which create unequal conditions that makes it hard for local creatives to compete with their international counterparts.
As a union in the education sector we believe that if the Bill is signed into law, will protect authors and publishers while restraining the excesses of a few publishing companies that exploit markets with unwarranted prices. South Africa has no more than four publishing companies that are making excessive profits and are turning education into a commodity at the expense of the education of our children.
In the USA, the Copyright Act allows flexibility as a requirement for creativity and innovation and controls fair use. It is therefore unacceptable that South Africa is threatened with trade sanctions for wanting to apply the same rules.
Contrary to the propaganda being spread around that the Copyright Bill will damage the market in particular the publishers, SADTU believes the Bill will play an essential role in developing writers and researchers of the future as the country demands more books and the fair use doctrine allows for innovation and creativity to thrive. The Bill will also ensure increased and cheaper accessibility to educational materials.
ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat
General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke
Deputy General Secretary, Nkosana Dolopi
Media Officer, Nomusa Cembi