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Legal Deposit in South Africa: Copyright & Other Relevant Laws

This Guide provides information about legislation, application and enforcement of the Legal Deposit Act and useful resources for publishers, librarians and others involved in compliance with this legislation.

Copyright Legislation (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.

Copyright in State Publications (SA)


Section 5(1) of the SA Copyright Act states that the state is bound by the Act. 

Section 5(2) provides that:

copyright shall be conferred by this section on every work which is eligible for copyright and which is made by or under the direction or control of the state …

 Section 21(2) of the Act provides that any copyright in a work conferred in terms of section 5 vests in the state and not in the author of the work.

With regard to literary and musical works, section 12(8)(a) of the Act, however,provides as follows:

No copyright shall subsist in official texts of a legislative, administrative or legal nature, or in official translations of such texts, or in speeches of a political nature or in speeches delivered in the course of legal proceedings, or in news of the day that are mere items of press information.