Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  17 Feb 2012

COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT: SA Companies Unknowingly Infringe Copyright


Recent Gauteng Business News

For years, South African companies and organisations have unknowingly been infringing copyright in their daily course of business. The South African Copyright Act states that, under most business circumstances, to copy and share works from South African newspapers, magazines and online publications is an infringement of the publishers’ rights.

The problem is that, for many businesses, copying and sharing these works is a normal and often essential part of their day-to-day operation, and up until now there has been no clear and accessible way to do this while ensuring that the copyright owner has consented to their work being copied and is remunerated for it.

After four years of research and development, a collective copyright management organisation has been formed to represent and protect South African publishers. The South African Reproduction Rights Organisation (SARRO) aims to put businesses, organisations and industry on the right track from a copyright point of view and to actively promote access and sharing of copyrighted works, while ensuring that the publishers are remunerated for this use.

Getting to the Root of Copyright Infringements

SARRO is a registered non-profit company incorporated to be owned and controlled by the publishers and, since its launch, has sought discussions with all South African publishers, inviting them to participate in the organisation, providing a collective approach to a widespread problem.

“Copyright in most countries around the world is protected and managed by reproduction rights organisations,” says Judy Prins, Media and Entertainment Division Lead at Deloitte, “the creation of a South African reproduction rights organisation is not only necessary, but long overdue.”

The primary role of SARRO is to streamline the licensing process between publishers and organisations that wish to copy and share works from South African newspapers, magazines and online publications.

How SARRO Intends to Keep Copyright Infringements to a Minimum

Businesses and organisations will be able to obtain an annual licence from SARRO allowing them to copy and share copyrighted works legally and freely. This will help foster a culture of copyright compliance and create an environment where publishers are properly remunerated for the use of their works, thereby contributing to a flourishing publishing industry.

The affordable and simplified licensing process will allow users to copy and share works from thousands of publications, as an alternative to approaching each publisher individually for permission each time they wish to copy and share their works. The licence fees are collected by SARRO and distributed back to the publishers.

Due to the general lack of understanding surrounding copyright, one of SARRO’s essential mandates is to educate and increase awareness about the respect for copyright and how companies and organisations can ensure that they are compliant with copyright regulations.

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