Copyright in South Africa is governed by the Copyright Act 198 of 1978. There is no provision for registration of copyright, except in the case of cinematographic films. The Copyright Act provides for the protection of various categories of works, including literary works, musical works, artistic works and computer programs and copyright will subsist in such works automatically, provided that certain requirements are met. These, very broadly speaking, are that the work must be original, it must exist in material form and the author must be a ‘qualified person’ (i.e. a South African national or resident, or a national or resident of a country to which the operation of the Copyright Act has been extended, primarily being the member countries of the Berne Convention). The Copyright Act entitles the owner of copyright in a work to prevent third parties from making copies or adaptations of the work, without authorisation.
The intellectual property (IP) department at ENSafrica is able to provide expert advice on all aspects of copyright law, including subsistence, infringement, licensing and disposal of copyright, and is able to draw on the knowledge of specialist lawyers in other departments within ENSafrica, such as the tax and commercial departments, to ensure, where necessary, that any advice given is in keeping with the client’s commercial and tax requirements or constraints.