Why the concern about copyright ?

  • It is the University’s policy to comply with the Copyright Act and Regulations and in so doing to respect the rights of the authors and publishers and to pay reasonable licence fees where required by law.
  • Infringement of copyright by the Universities, Heads of Departments or lecturers and students could result in legal action and possible awards of damages.

What is copyright ?

  • Copyright is a form of Intellectual Property
  • Aimed at preventing unauthorised persons from copying certain types of works
  • Copyright Act of 1978 regulates the law of copyright and specifies certain categories of protected works

        Protected Works  

        The Copyright Act currently protects:

  – Literary Works
  – Artistic Works
  – Musical Works
  – Sound Recordings
  – Cinematograph Films
  – Sound and Television Broadcasts
  – Program Carrying Signals
  – Published Editions
  – Computer Programs  

              ​ Examples of Protected Works:
  • Instruction Manuals
  • Drawings and Logo designs
  • Brochures
  • Study Guides
  • Photographs
  • Computer Programs

How does copyright come into existence?

  • Copyright subsists automatically
  • No formal steps, such as registration, are required to be taken in order to obtain copyright in a work
  • A particular work must meet certain requirements in order to enjoy copyright


  • Originality
         – The work must be original
         – Not a requirement that the work is inventive or unique
         – The Work must be the product of the creator’s own efforts and skills
         – It should not be copied from other sources 
  • Material Form
          – Copyright does not exist in an idea alone
          – Must exist in a material form
          – A design (artistic work) does not come into existence until it is reduced to paper, even if
             the designer has a clear idea of the design he wishes to create
  • Qualified Person
           – a citizen, resident or must be domiciled in South Africa
           – in the case of a legal body, such entity must be incorporated in South Africa
           – or one of the convention countries

Ownership of copyright

  • General Rule
    – the creator or author is the owner
  • Exceptions
    – (a) Work made during course and scope of employment under contract of service or apprenticeship
    – (b) The commissioning of certain specified works (Photographs, the painting or drawing of a portrait)
    – (c) Author is employed by newspaper, magazine or similar periodical and an artistic or literary work
            is made for the purpose of publication in such periodical
    – (d) Works made under the direction or control of the State or such International organisation  

How long does copyright last ? 

  • Copyright has a definite life span
  • Different terms of duration apply to different types of works
  • For Literary & Artistic works - 50 years from the end of the year in which the author dies;
  • Photographs & Computer programs - 50 years after the work is made available to the public with the consent of the Copyright Owner

Protection under the Act

  • Copyright is a form of property with value
  • Copyright can be sold, assigned or licensed for use by others (in writing!)
  • Copyright is the right to do, or to authorise others to do, or prevent others from copying the protected work
  • The Act entitles a person to prevent others from copying or infringing the work
  • There must be actual copying of the work
  • Copyright is not infringed if a second work is created independently
  • Must be a copy of a substantial part of the original work

Relief granted under the Act 

  • Interdict - order preventing a person from infringing the copyright
  • Damages
  • Reasonable Royalty in lieu of damages
  • Criminal offence - the import, sale or distribution of a copy that he knows to be an infringing copy

Which acts do not infringe copyright ? 

  • Act makes provision for certain exemptions from copyright infringement:
  • Examples:
    – Fair Dealings
    – Use for Private Studies

How to obtain permission 

In order to assist staff, the University has a Copyright Administrator, Mr Thapelo Mashishi. All requests for copyright permission should be routed through the Copyright Administration Office. Lecturers can download the DALRO form to be used for all copyright permission requests.

Senior Copyright Officer:           Mr Thapelo Mashishi      Email: thapelom@uj.ac.za  Tel (011) 559 - 2182       Fax: (011) 726 - 7723

Plagiarism and copyright - what are the differences? 

Plagiarism is using someone else’s idea (usually a written idea) without giving proper credit for the idea—a failure to cite adequately. Educational institutions enforce plagiarism. 

Copyright infringement is using someone else’s creative idea, which can include a song, a video, a movie clip, a piece of visual art, a photograph, and other creative works, without authorization or compensation, if compensation is appropriate. The courts enforce copyright infringement. (The above definition offered by: NCTE (The National Council of English Teachers) (www.ncte.org)

Links of interest: 

  South African Copyright Act
  Creative Commons