Copyright Amendment Bill: Contradictions to Hit the South African Education Sector

Keyan Tomaselli, Hetta Pieterse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article maps the latest developments in South Africa’s complex battle to update its Copyright Amendment Bill across a path strewn with legal pitfalls. Driving the agenda of the American-derived “fair use” and other copyright exceptions at the expense of content creators are the state, under the guise of “access” to education, and Big Tech companies focused on data mining, paraded as users’ rights to content. The emerging Bill has given rise to a set of major contradictions that will directly and negatively impact especially educational book publishing, from primary to tertiary sectors. The updated Bill risks violating authors’ rights and international treaties. The authors identify contradictions in public policy and sketch the most contentious aspects within debates around the Bill. The implications for the national research economy are considered, while the need to adequately protect the copyright of open access content is raised. The article closes with a summary of the issues of “fair use” and fair dealing, the predatory implications, and the outcome of the contradictions for the industry. The relevance of writing about a moving target is because a) the Bill has been in contestation for eight years now; b) universities and the whole educational sector have failed to respond coherently to the threats portended in the Bill; c) the nature of the claims and counter-arguments raised by the Bill will continue well after it has been promulgated; and d) the analysis is alert to open access imperatives and to the threat of South Africa becoming a haven for servers hosting pirated content should the Bill become law.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14325
JournalEducation as Change
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2023


  • Copyright Amendment Bill
  • South Africa
  • creative industries
  • fair dealing
  • open access
  • predatory publishers
  • “fair use”

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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