Mobile Carriers And Consumers Are All Pirates in South Africa
South Africa’s government has been urged to get tough with ISPs that refuse to pay royalties and to introduce graduated-response piracy measures against freeloaders, by a report that decries a dysfunctional digital content market.
A new report on digital content in South Africa has proposed the same kind of “three-strikes” penalty system being leveled against persistent freeloaders in other countries.
But just as significant an immediate problem is how some of the biggest online music services in the nation are also breaking copyright law.
The just-published Copyright Review Commission’s 223-page report tells the government that South African content makers have no optimism about digital exploitation because only 14 percent of mobile services have licenses for the music they offer, while their umbrella body refuses to make them pay the local mechanical royalties collector. Only one, Vodacom, pays royalties for using sound recordings:
“Wireless Application Service Providers (WASPs) have been selling ringtones since 2000. An overwhelming majority … have paid no royalties … and have profited 100% from the digital exploitation of authors’ copyright works for almost a decade.
“Their continued use of composers’ works without paying royalties is unauthorised in terms of the Copyright Act. The majority of mobile providers (and, by implication, consumers) are dealing in infringing sound recordings and may be held criminally liable for copyright infringement.”
The mobile operators’ apparent intransigence is despite South African royalty rates being the lowest amongst eight countries benchmarked by the Copyright Review Commission – Brazil, France, India, Norway, Senegal, Switzerland and the UK. Read the full story @ Paidcontent.org
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