Copyright & File Sharing

To date there has been no concerted effort on the part of copyright associations to lobby for ISPs to act as a copyright enforcement mechanism whether through a three-strikes mechanism or otherwise. This is probably due to the lack of a compelling economic case for such an intervention in South Africa. Calls for reformation of copyright legislation have been made and there has been some engagement between the Internet Service Providers’ Association and the Recording Industries of South Africa (RiSA)

ISPs may receive copyright infringement notifications from international peers. There does not appear to be any specific obligation under South African law to pass these notices on to subscribers /resellers or to otherwise take any action to effect removal of or block access to the detected infringement other than in terms of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act. There is a view that passing these notices on is a low-impact mechanism for assisting copyright holders.

This is an extremely tricky area of law which is likely to see rapid development in South Africa over the next few years. Events in other jurisdictions make it clear that copyright holder associations will continue to pursue lobbying and other measures aimed at forcing ISPs to take action against those of their customers which the associations believe to be infringing copyright.

Other copyright associations in South Africa:

South African Federation Against Copyright Theft (SAFACT)

Business Software Alliance (BSA)