Thursday, July 30, 2015

Filmmakers workshop on South African IP and Copyright Amendment bill, 13 August 2015

Cultural Industries Legal & Advisory Centre (CILAC) cordially invites you to a Roundtable Discussion with South African and U.S. copyright experts and filmmakers on the recently published South African Intellectual Property Policy and Copyright Amendment bill, on Thursday, 13 August 2015, at 09:00 at the NFVF (National Film & Video Foundation) in Johannesburg.

The Copyright Act is being amended for the first time since 1978, and it is vitally important for the filmmaking community to be at the forefront of important changes affecting the industry's legislative and policy environment.

The goal of this workshop is to build better stakeholder and researcher understanding of the implications of balanced intellectual property reform for filmmakers. 

The workshop will specifically discuss policy changes in the South Africa Copyright Act’s free expression promotion flexibility that allow creative incorporation and transformation of prior expression for critical commentary and other purposes. This workshop will discuss how these balancing features of South Africa’s copyright law would be amended under new government policies being released shortly – with a group of copyright law professors and attorneys from the U.S. and South Africa who have been working with filmmakers here and abroad.

The meeting will include a discussion with members of the filmmaking community and CILAC’s Managing Director, Tholoana Makhu, Professors Peter Jaszi and Sean Flynn, from PIJIP, and Caroline Ncube and Tobias SchonweSer from the UCT IP Unit, and will be chaired by CILAC’s CEO, Marang Masokoane. Each is an expert in intellectual property law. 

PIJIP and the UCT IP Unit collaborated on a recent study of the role of copyright law and legal literacy in the documentary film industry in South Africa. 

This workshop is convened by CILAC in conjunction with the following organisations and institutions:

  • South African Screen Federation (SASFED)
  • Association for Transformation in Film & TV (ATFT)
  • Young Producers Forum (YPF)
  • Intellectual Property Unit - University of Cape Town (UCT IP Unit)
  • Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP) - American University, Washington College of Law - United States 

Participants include among others:

  • Tholoana Makhu, Managing Director, Cultural Industries Legal & Advisory Centre (CILAC)
  • Associate Prof Caroline Ncube, Head: Department of Commercial Law, University of Cape Town
  • Dr Tobias Schonwetter, Director: IP Unit, University of Cape Town
  • Peter Jaszi, Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law
  • Sean Flynn, Executive Director, Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP) at American University Washington College of Law

The event is free of charge and begins at 09:00, with short tea-break at 11:00 and lunch served at 13:00. Upon receiving your confirmation of attendance, we will provide a preliminary programme as well as a logistical note with all necessary information and details.

Kindly RSVP by 12:00 on 8 August 2015, to Marang Masokoane at

NFVF, 87 Central Street, Houghton, Johannesburg, Gauteng

GPS Co-ordinates: -26.153535, 28.057785

We look forward to welcoming you in Johannesburg!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Community TV stations withdraw from Act-SA

Two community television stations have withdrawn from the nascent body formed to represent the sector, the Association of Community Television - South Africa (Act-SA).

Cape Town TV and 1KZN TV have both resigned from Act-SA, citing unbridgeable differences with the initiative. This leaves Tshwane TV, Soweto TV and Bay TV as the only licensed community broadcasters to participate in the initiative, along with a few other unlicensed community TV groups.

Act-SA was initiated more than two years ago in May 2013 when a grouping of community television organizations agreed to the formation of the body. The intention was to form Act-SA as a distinct legal entity which operates on behalf of its members, namely the community television stations licensed as such by ICASA as well as those seeking such licenses.

To this end the participating organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which outlined their intention to form a legal entity governed by a constitution. The MoU was signed on 29 May 2013, following the election of a steering committee. The mandate of the elected office bearers was to organize the AGM, at which the constitution would be ratified and a leadership elected to take the organization forward.

One of the main problems that has led to the demise of the the initiative is that the steering committee failed to organise an AGM, leading to a situation where the initiative lacked legitimacy. This was compounded by a breakdown of trust between members brought about due poor communication, lack of transparency and concerns about the absence of democratic decision-making processes.

While Act-SA members were able to to agree on a 'Charter for Community Television in South Africa' which set out parameters for the ethical operation of community TV stations, the provisions of this document could not be enforced due to the absence of the legitimate oversight body which Act-SA was supposed to become.

Meanwhile government spend on the community TV sector, propelled by policy guidelines from the ruling ANC and parliamentary directives, has been wholly inadequate. 

Government adspend channeled via the GCIS has been wildly disproportionate in favour of certain channels while others have been almost entirely neglected.

Act-SA has not met since March 2014 and the body is to all intents and purposes defunct. 1KZN TV and Cape Town TV resigned from Act-SA on 24 and 25 June 2015 respectively. 

Cape Town TV and 1KZN TV declare that no decisions or actions by individuals purporting to act on behalf of Act-SA will be in any way representative of or binding on our stations, nor do they represent the community TV sector as a whole.

For further comment contact:

Cape Town TV  
Station Manager Karen Thorne
Tel. 021 448 0448

Station Manager Edwin Mncwango
Tel. 071 156 8652

Monday, July 27, 2015

FOR YOUR URGENT ATTENTION: South African Copyright Amendment Bill 2015 invitation for public comment

As you may know, the library and educational sectors have been lobbying since 1998 for better and more balanced copyright laws.  On 27 July 2015, the Department of Trade and Industry published a new Copyright Amendment Bill for public comment.  


Now we have the chance to comment and ensure that the Copyright Bill provides adequate provisions for education, research, libraries, archives, persons with disabilities, digitisation, etc.   Please have a look at the Bill and have your say (please can you copy your submissions to me so that we can see what concerns people have on these issues). Some issues of concern I have picked up already (just browsed through last night) are the provisions for format shifting, orphan works which are impractical and no provisions for deaf or other disabled persons, issues around legal deposit for preserving our cultural heritage, issues around filmmakers and scriptwriters, etc.  I will be studying it more carefully this week.  
I am glad that the copyright term does not change and that some of the benefits of fair use have been introduced.

Interested persons may submit written comments on the proposed Copyright Amendment Bill in writing within 30 (Thirty) calendar days from the date of publication of this Notice (i.e. 27 JULY 2015) to :

Director General, Department of Trade and Industry
For Attention: Meshendri Padayachy
Private Bag X84
Pretoria, 0001


Hand deliver to:
77 Meinjies Street
Block B, 1ST Floor,

Find the Amendment Bill Draft here.

Friday, July 17, 2015

ICASA Is Conducting Workshops On The Draft Local Content Regulations For Television and Radio

Johannesburg – The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) is inviting all interested and affected stakeholders to the workshops on South African Local Content for television and radio following the publication of the draft regulations on these broadcasting services. 

The draft regulations on South African Music once finalised will apply to sound broadcasting services i.e. all public, commercial and Community radio services, whereas, the South African TV Local content Regulations deal mainly with programming on television such as drama, documentaries, soap operas etc.

The aim of the workshops is to solicit input on the two Draft Regulations subsequent to which the Authority will conduct public hearings and publish final regulations based on the inputs from the workshops, written submissions and public hearings.

The publication of the draft regulations comes as a result of ICASA having been in consultation with industry players, where extensive consultation was undertaken by conducting a Cost Benefit Analysis on local content. Industry Players were interviewed together with independent producers and industry bodies and a Discussion Document was published for comments followed by provincial workshops on the Discussion Document. Subsequent to that, the Authority analysed the submissions to the Discussion Document and Published the Findings Document. 

The Authority has now commenced with the consultation to develop regulations that will govern and address compliance in relation to the broadcasting of local content on radio and television respectively.

The workshops will be held in different areas across nine (9) Provinces to ensure effective consultation and tap into views from various sectors of the South African society. The schedule is as follows:

All interested stakeholders wishing to attend the workshops or require further details thereof can contact Ms Mamedupe Kgatshe on (011) 566-3259 or

New Propaganda trick from Government

From the Mail & Guardian: State's new propaganda plan to hurt media budgets

Forget how the national communication task team vilified the Democratic Alliance, they're copying them.

President Jacob Zuma’s administration has a new propaganda plan that includes establishing a government TV news channel and copying the Democratic Alliance’s tactics in dealing with newspapers considered hostile.

The state’s plan includes slashing government advertising to media perceived as anti-government, pushing the SABC to tell more government news and channel more advertising to state media entities.

These are among the proposals of a national communications task team (NCTT) established last year by Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.

The NCTT began its work a year ago. Two task team members the Mail & Guardian spoke to estimated the NCTT cost between R2-million to R5-million to complete its work.

The NCTT notes in its report, dated July 10 and leaked to the M&G this week, “the ANC government might take ... courage from what the DA has done in the Western Cape, where they decided to cut ties with the Cape Times for they deemed it was not adding value to their communication strategies”.

“The ANC-led government should have taken such a bold move long ago,” the report says. Ironically, the idea that government should copy the DA provincial government on the Cape Times matter is contrary to Muthambi’s publicly stated opinion.

Angry reaction
She reacted with anger to the Western Cape government’s decision to stop subscribing to the Cape Times and accused the provincial administration of damaging media freedom.
“The Western Cape provincial government trampled on this hard-won freedom by dictating which media may and may not be consumed.
“They implemented a crude form of censorship and removed the freedom to choose from provincial department heads.”
The ANC also reacted angrily, accusing Premier Helen Zille’s government of attacking press freedom.

The report says the national government is complicit in its own bad publicity because of how it managed its advertising spend. An ideal situation would link print media adverts “that are somewhat seamless with a particular storyline in the main news section”.
“This will never be allowed in the mainstream media and it would be stigmatised as pushing ANC government propaganda,” the report states.

Advertising spend limits
If the Cabinet accepts and executes the NCTT’s recommendations, there will be a new policy to limit government departments’ advertisements in newspapers deemed to be short-changing the state in their reporting.

The report said cutting down advertising was “only one way to permanently fix the problem. But it will need boldness, serious political resolve and a radical transformation mind-set. The solution cannot take a ‘quick fix’ and an uncoordinated approach.”

It said the “out of context and seemingly ad hoc placements of government adverts are a serious waste of money and only provide poor value to the reader.”

The government spends about R1-billion on advertising in mainstream media, according to a task team member. This includes provincial and local government. “GCIS [Government Communication Information System] spent R241-million in the previous financial year,” the task team member said.

The M&G was told that this means “there must be a habit of using the muscle of government to support information dissemination projects. If we are going to spend R1-million on the M&G we should encourage the newspaper to cover stories at their own editorial initiative that educate the public.”

Community media
For now, government will commit a minimum of 30% of its advertising spend to community media and advertising jobs in the free government newspaper Vuk’uzenzele as well as government’s online radio station Ubuntu Radio. This could be implemented from as early as August.

But a task team member said job advertisements would not be exclusive to government media and a smaller portion might still appear in mainstream newspapers. “It depends on who you are looking for and is that person reading Vuk’uzenzele?”

Though this task team report does not name media houses that would lose out, the M&G reported last December that the Sunday Times, M&G and City Press are under threat of advertising starvation amid unhappiness from government that the papers vilify the ANC-led government, failing to report the positives.

Some of these recommendations have already been taken to heart by Muthambi. In an SABC interview two weeks ago, she said government would slash its advertising budget to mainstream newspapers by more than 40%. This, she said, would save the state about R100-million a year.

“We are going to use our own platforms to communicate our own messages. I think we have got enough platforms and if you check, even other countries do what we are going to do now,” she told the SABC.

Judge, not journalist
Among other recommendations by the NCTT is that the press ombudsman should be a retired judge and not a former journalist. Currently a retired judge chairs the appeals tribunal.

“The press ombudsman must be an independent person to re-establish and releverage the credibility of that office,” the task team state.

It also wants the curriculum of journalism and media studies in tertiary institutions to be “improved” to “reflect a new paradigm of a transformed media landscape”.

“This will lay a basis in the future for the change in adversarial coverage towards government hopefully being replaced by a fair and balanced reporting”, the report states.

It recommends that Vuk’uzenzele, which appears monthly, become a weekly publication and that its print run be increased. The current print run could not be established. The aim is to publish more of government careers as an insert in Vuk’uzenzele and some community newspapers. The state would also establish a “dynamic digital publication” of Vuk’uzenzele that would deliver news to mobile phones and email among others.

The recommendations include encouraging all provinces to have customised versions of Vuk’uzenzele.

TV channel
To speedily deliver messages to citizens, the task team suggested that the state owns a TV channel and explores a mobile TV channel. The team also suggests that “each province gets its own channel”.

Brand South Africa, which hosted the task team and funded much of its work, is likely to see its board reduced to a maximum of nine members from the current 28.

Brand SA pulled the plug on the task team after complaining Muthambi failed to keep her promise of reimbursing the agency. The M&G reported in March that Brand SA claimed more than R1-million from the ministry.

The task team report said, by withdrawing its financial support, Brand SA prevented some committees from completing their work satisfactorily.

The task team wants Brand SA to “form partnerships with entities such as SABC and should not have to pay for airtime to promote programmes of national importance”.

“More aggressive strategy”
The task team also expects the SABC to “have a more aggressive strategy” to communicate government policy. To boost the SABC’s finances, the broadcasting subcommittee of the NCTT recommended the collection of TV licence fees be improved and “pay TV platforms be used to collect the licence fees, with a recommendation of 7% administration fee by the external collector”.

The subcommittee also proposed an introduction of a levy on advertising – to be determined by the task team and Advertising Agency Board – which will be used to develop the SABC’s infrastructure and content build-up. The SABC has on several occasions relied on government’s financial bailouts to survive.

To improve government communications, Muthambi’s department has been urged to “develop a compulsory training programme for Cabinet, senior civil servants for government and communicators”.

The research agenda subcommittee of the task team, which was tasked with exploring the development of a government war room to deal with crisis communication among others, recommended that the state establish a fully fledged “research unit or division” by building on what the GCIS already has.

Muthambi is expected to launch a white paper process to formalise the report’s recommendations “so that they find expression in various pieces of legislation that governs the communications space”.

The communications task team was chaired by Nomsa Chabeli, marketing director at SuperSport, while chairperson of Black Business Executive Circle Hlengani Mathebula was her deputy. Seasoned communicator Onkgopotse “JJ” Tabane was the convenor and head of the task team’s secretariat.

Muthambi’s spokesperson Mishack Molakeng said the minister has received the report and is currently studying its contents and recommendations and only once she is done will share it with the public. – Additional reporting by Qaanitah Hunter