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Copyright and Related Issues: SA Copyright Law

This Libguide is a useful guide on international, regional and South African copyright and related issues.

What Laws Govern Copyright in South Africa?

Copyright is governed by the Copyright Act No. 98 of 1978 (as amended) and its Regulations (Section 13).

South Africa is a signatory to various international intellectual property agreements, e.g. the Berne Convention (which obliges South Africa to give recognition and protection to copyright works from signatory countries) and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

South Africa has signed the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)'s two Internet Treaties, (i.e. WIPO Copyright Treaty and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty). but has not yet acceded to them.

Interview about the SA Copyright Law on Voice of Wits Radio

Why must you be copyright compliant?

  • By law, we are obliged to comply with the South African Copyright Act No. 98 of 1978 (as amended)
  • Our University's policy ensures that we respect the rights of authors and publishers and pay reasonable licence fees, where required by law.  
  • Copyright infringement could result in legal action and possible awards of damages. 
  • The viability of local publishers depends on compliance with the Copyright law.  
  • Copyright gives authors an incentive to create new works and to be compensated for their efforts. 
  •  Infringement deprives them of an income and affects sales, prices and production of works.