By Hon. P Govender – Inkatha Freedom Party
31 August 2023
Performer’s Protection Act 1967 (Act No. 11 of 1967)
Greetings to the Hon. Speaker, the Leader of the Official Opposition and all Hon. Members.
Hon. Speaker, during the public hearings that were held on the Performer’s Protection Bill and the Copyright Amendment Bill, the Inkatha Freedom Party heard the voices of various organisations and individuals that made presentations. The IFP considered very carefully the inputs that were made and we want to articulate the views of the performers and artists in the House today. Those citizens who are directly affected by the proposed amendments are not here but the IFP is here to ensure that their voices and views are represented strongly.
As the IFP, we are aware of the fact that the Performer’s Protection Act of 1967 is outdated, since it was passed at a time when technology was not at the advanced stage that it is now. We see the need to make amendments to the Act but those amendments should never work against the interests of performers. The IFP believes that any proposed amendments should be designed to foster an amicable relationship between performers, producers and broadcasting companies.
It is our understanding that one of the objectives of the Amendment Bill is to protect performers’ moral and economic rights. We support this objective to the fullest as the IFP and we continue to stand by our position that this objective should be carried out within the realm of legal certainty in order to avoid confusion and endless court applications once the Bill is passed and becomes an official Act of Parliament.
The IFP is not convinced that the new proposed Section 3(2) is in line with the objective of protecting performers’ rights. Although Section 3(2b) does allow for an affected person to object, we are aware that many of them do not have the financial capacity to take large companies to court and to wait for the finalisation of cases.
Hon. Speaker, Section 3A of this Bill appears to weaken the position of performers rather than to protect their interests. I say this because the Principal Act does not make any provision for the transfer of the rights granted to performers and therefore the basic presumption is that these rights cannot be transferred. The Amendment Bill, however seeks to change this and make the performers’ rights transferable to the producer or his or her licensee. This has the potential to work against the rights of performers who do not fully understand the law and the repercussions of what they are signing over in the long term.
Hon. Speaker, we strongly support the principle that legislation should provide legal certainty, especially in this highly complex field, and we do not wish this Bill to become tangled in court cases. Further, this Amendment Bill does not address the issue of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the impact that AI will have on performers across platforms.
It is also important that we have respect for international laws that our country acceded to, otherwise we run the risk of the world viewing us as being unethical. What remains a great concern for us is the fact that the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill potentially infringes the World intellectual Property Organisation Performances and Phonograms Treaty, which South Africa was a signatory of.
Let us not forget that performers themselves held a march to the Gauteng Legislature against the passing of the two Bills. Renowned artist, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, commented that enacting this Bill in its current form would be disastrous for South African artists.
In conclusion, Hon. Speaker: the IFP, supports the Chairperson’s report but does not support the Performer’s Protection Amendment Bill [B24F – 2016].
I thank you.