As many of you no doubt know the Copy Right Act 1978 section 15 (3)
has been a bone of some contention for the South Africa Wikipedia community
for a long time now as it has effectively meant that we here in South
Africa are denied Freedom of Panorama
Last week I was fortunate enough to have attended an event organised by Dr
Tobias Schonwetter from UCT (and from Creative Commons South Africa) to
discuss a suggested redrafting of the act. I am happy to say that I feel I
was able to make a good case to the relevant authorities from the
Department of Trade and Industry as well as others present for the need to
revise the act to allow for Freedom of Panorama. I feel they were very
sympathetic to our concerns about the need and desirability of Freedom of
Panorama in South Africa.
Now comes the hard part. We need to work on a suggested revision of
Section 15 (3) (or Section 15 generally) to allow for Freedom of Panorama
and we need to do it quickly as the deadline for submissions to change the
act is the 27th of August 2015.
My suggestion is to use the Spanish or German Freedom of Panorama acts as
guidelines for us which basically state that people are free to take
pictures or otherwise reproduce works that are permanently found outside on
public ways, streets or places (e.g. squares, plazas) and to distribute and
publicly communicate such copies.
Or as the Spanish act says: "Works permanently located in parks, streets,
squares or other public places may be freely reproduced, distributed and
communicated by means of paintings, drawings, photographs and audiovisual
processes." and goes on to state that this "may not be so interpreted that
they could be applied in a manner capable of unreasonably prejudicing the
legitimate interests of the author or adversely affecting the normal
exploitation of the works to which they refer."
I want to notify the community of this opportunity for us to amended the
act as well as the progress the Chapter (Wikimedia South Africa) has made
in possibly getting Freedom of Panorama established in South Africa.
I also wanted to let you know that should you have any comments of your own
on the amendment of the Copy Right act of 1978 then please have a look at
the link here
for more information as well as the contact details of the contact person
at the DTI.
Thanks and best regards,
Douglas Ian Scott
South African mobile number: +27 (0)79 515 8727