Copyright Law in South Africa is governed by the Copyright Act of 1978 and its amendments. CIPC and DTI oversee copyright in the country. As a member of the Berne Convention and TRIPS Agreement, copyright works protected in South Africa are also protected in other member states of the above. One doesn’t have to register copyright on a work for it to be protected. Copyright is automatically assigned the moment an original creative work takes a tangible form. Copyright apply to works that have some form of creativity embedded. As such a mere list of facts or data cannot be copyright protected. A grocery list for instance, is not a creative act and thus cannot be protected.
Copyright Law in South Africa apply to computer programs, literary works, broadcasts, cinematographic films, artistic expressions such as music, photographs, paintings, drawings, and sculpting related works, and architectural works, as well as published editions and sound recordings. With cinematograph films registration is required as such are complex works embedding several other creative works.
Usage Rights: Infringement of copyright can take place when a party copies, uses, sells, rents out, imports or disposes, stores and makes available copyright protected works in a manner not authorised by the copyright holder. One can get usage and selling rights on a work through a license agreement. It is important to note that such rights can range from master reseller to mere usage rights. Royalties are paid to the copyright holder for such usage.
This depends on the type of work that has been created. Generally, the term of copyright is 50 years, subject to the following:
Literary, Musical or Artistic Works
Copyright exists for the life of the author plus 50 years following death, calculated from the end of the year the author died in or 50 years from the date of first publication, performance in public, offering for sale of records thereof or the broadcasting thereof , whichever is later.
Films and Photographs
50 years from the end of the year in which the work is made publicly available, or the end of the year in which the work is first published, whichever is longer, or fifty years from the end of the year in which the work is made
50 years from the end of the year in which the recording is first published
50 years from the end of the year in which the broadcast first takes place
50 years from the end of the year in which the signals are emitted to a satellite
50 years from the end of the year in which the edition is published
Transfer of Copyright
Much like other property, copyright can be transferred by assignment, testamentary disposition or by operation of law. Copyright can also be licensed to a licensee for royalties. It is important to note that an assignment and an exclusive license (which precludes anyone else, including the author from using the creation) must be in writing and signed by the assignor to be valid. A non-exclusive license may be written or oral, or inferred from the conduct of the parties.