Joint statement on the adoption of the Copyright Amendment Bill

Joint statement on the adoption by the National Assembly of the Copyright Amendment Bill, no B13F of 2017

We, authors associations PEN South Africa, PEN Afrikaans, and the Academic and Non-Fiction Authors Association of South Africa (ANFASA), and the Publishers Association of South Africa (PASA), regret the outcome of yesterday’s plenary of the National Assembly during which the controversial Copyright Amendment Bill was adopted with the majority vote of the ruling party, despite objections from opposition parties and large-scale opposition from the creative industries.

Authors and publishers have steadfastly and over many years protested the bill’s radical weakening of copyright protection, including by supporting a petition that we launched on Friday, 23 February 2024. The petition closed at 22:00 on 28 February 2024 and attracted 4247 signatories in less than a week, including the support and signatures of many of our country’s leading writers.

The petition was submitted electronically and delivered to Parliament ahead of yesterday’s deliberations.

It is extremely regrettable that despite widespread criticism from copyright experts and the sincere concerns of our country’s authors and publishers who rely on copyright to make a living and to contribute to society, the legislature chooses to simply proceed with this bill that will do so much harm to our book industry.

We intend to continue to amplify the voice and concerns of authors and local book publishers on this crucial bill, which we cannot support in its current form.

Print-impaired persons can and should have the rights they deserve without assenting to this disastrous bill.

We urge the president not to sign it.   


This statement can be downloaded here: