CAPE TOWN– The Copyright Amendment Bill 2017 will urgently address the non-payment of royalties to musicians in South Africa as stipulated in the Farlam Copyright Review Commission, says the Department of Trade and Industry (dti).

Briefing the parliamentary Committee on Trade and Industry here on inputs and responses received by the department regarding Copyright Amendment Bill 2017 (CAB), the dti Director-General, Lionel October, said 70 submissions regarding the Bill were received.

The Bill intends to address and resolve issues arising from the findings of the Farlam Commission, including non-payment of royalties, lack of formalization of the creative industry and related abuse, incidence of piracy, and moral and economic rights of performers related to audio-visual fixations.

As we indicated to the Portfolio Committee, the dti received more than 70 submissions on the CAB and we are now going into the final stages of developing the final Copyright Bill. As a way forward, we are proposing that we agree that a special drafting committee be formed to draft a new bill taking into account all the inputs, he added during last Friday’s briefing.

He said the Committee had agreed that the department must go back to the original Farlam Commission and prioritise the issues raised in that report. The Committee also agreed to deal with as many issues as they can but that the dti requested them to prioritise musicians as they are not getting paid.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is sitting with hundreds of millions of rand which should be benefiting our artistes, and that was the main reason President Jacob Zuma convened a meeting with them in 2009 to address their concerns, and the reason the dti set up Farlam Commission.