SA Internet users must be allowed to copy and share (for research): DTI

Internet users in South Africa must be entitled to make and distribute copies “from electronic sources in reasonable numbers” for educational and research purposes, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has recommended.

In its draft National Intellectual Property Policy published in the Government Gazette on Wendesday, 4 September 2013, the DTI listed fair use rights as among their recommendations “to enhance access to copyrighted materials”.

According to the policy draft, developing nations feel that the “fair use” or “fair dealing” provisions in international copyright treaties for education and personal use do not cover their needs.

To achieve developmental goals for education and knowledge transfer, the DTI said that South Africa must adopt legislation that provides “the maintenance and adoption of broad exemptions for educational, research and library uses.”

The South African Copyright Act currently excludes personal copying of movies, sound recordings, and software from its fair dealing provisions.

However, it does let you make copies of computer programs that you own for backup purposes.

It is worth noting that the chapter containing this recommendation of fair use entitlements for SA Internet users seems to focus on software.

The DTI was asked to clarify whether their recommendation should be read to apply to all copyrighted material or just software, but a spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

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SA Internet users must be allowed to copy and share (for research): DTI