The Copyright Amendment Bill – A Trojan Horse for the ANC?

Issued by Darren Bergman MP – DA Shadow Deputy of Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition
21 Jun 2023 in News

The shroud of ambiguity surrounding the Copyright Amendment Bill is increasingly hard to ignore. It appears the ANC is determined to railroad this initiative, initially envisioned to benefit artists, authors, and musicians, through the legislative process, regardless of the serious concerns raised. The DA fears this bill may just be the ANC’s latest vehicle for financial exploitation.

We first sounded the alarm by writing to President Ramaphosa, highlighting the bill’s vague and restrictive content. The bill was subsequently recalled and reintroduced with minimal changes, yet without the full endorsement of its intended beneficiaries, who feel their interests are inadequately represented.

As the bill now sits before the NCOP, more alarming developments are emerging. We’re witnessing contradictory legal opinions and a lack of consensus among provinces. Several ANC members have openly expressed concern about the dubious handling of this bill. The exclusion of certain portfolio members from key meetings to discuss the bill’s finalization is deeply troubling.

The ANC’s insistence on dictating fees for relationships between producers and artists undermines the ‘willing artist, willing producer’ principle, to the detriment of both parties. Their push for a single company to monitor all streams and ensure royalties are collected and paid is worrisome. This system’s reliability and efficacy have yet to be proven and benchmarked against global standards. The potential for this to be impacted by potential sanctions or South Africa’s grey-listing by the FATF cannot be overlooked.

The suspicion looms that the ANC’s urgency to push this legislation through is motivated by the potential for these two income streams to generate increased taxes and revenue, rather than a genuine concern for the welfare of artists, authors, and musicians.

In a week where the President’s office has made a significant international blunder, one would expect efforts to be made to minimize further embarrassment. However, the ANC seems intent on pushing forward regardless.

The DA implores the ANC to be forthright with the artists, authors, and musicians of our country, and admit that the true objectives of this bill have more to do with government revenue generation than their interests. This legislation, as it stands, represents yet another avenue for the government to extract wealth from the honest and hardworking taxpayers of South Africa. The people deserve better.

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