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Copyright Guidelines for Staff & Students of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (WITS): Copyright Infringement - Penalties

This LibGuide provides definitions, legislation and procedures for copyright clearance for teaching and research purposes.


The author or owner or his/her licensee (in some cases) can take legal action to stop infringements of his/her rights. This can include seizure of the infringing material, damages and an interdict preventing further infringement of his/her rights. The Courts have the power to award additional damages where there has been a flagrant breach of copyright.


The Copyright Act also makes provision for criminal penalties - a fine (a maximum of R5 000 per infringement) and/or imprisonment of up to 3 years for a first conviction. The maximum fine and/or imprisonment penalty for a second conviction is R10 000 and/or 5 years.


Our institution has strong disciplinary procedures to address copyright infringement.