South Africa has tabled a proposal meant to fight Piracy also known as copyright infringement online by placing the responsibility on Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

According to a draft white paper published on the 9th of October 2020 by Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams on 9 October in the Government Gazette, the proposal is a complete change on the rules and regulations that govern the country’s broadcasting industry.

The reason for the proposal is centered around the role being played by the internet and issues surrounding illegal file sharing which have led to a rise in piracy and copyright infringement. Due to these and other issues, there needs to be legislation that will force ISPs to cooperate with copyright holders and the government in order to run a crackdown on illegal file-sharing as well as illegal streaming services.

The draft white paper also states that Piracy is the biggest problem for the South African creative industry as it damages the creative industry as well as the economic contribution of sports events.

It is also important to note that piracy has always been a huge problem for developing countries, especially African countries because most of these nations across the continent do have the financial means to put measures in place to protect content creators yet rightsholders heavily rely on revenue generated by the sale of their content.

With the new regulation in place, it will ensure that piracy becomes a problem of yesterday as it allows the internet service providers to monitor the traffic of their subscribers and report and preserve any evidence of copyright infringement or piracy on their network.

There is already the Cybercrimes Bill which was passed by the National Council of Provinces but now awaiting President Cyril Ramaphosa’s signature to become a law. The same bill places an obligation on ISPs to report instances of piracy and preserve any information.

The white paper is titled, “A New Vision for South Africa 2020”, and is still a draft by the Minister of Communications awaiting comments from members of the public by the 30th of November 2020.

 

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