Piracy in SA could get your Internet cut off

The minister of trade and industry, Rob Davies, recently released the “Copyright Review Commission” report, calling for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to suspend Internet access to repeat copyright infringement offenders.

The Copyright Review Commission report makes wide-ranging recommendations, which include:

  • the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee;
  • the non-compliance with copyright-related rights may lead to the termination of licences issued by Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s; and
  • the collecting structure of collecting societies.

The release of the report is a precursor to a meeting President Jacob Zuma will hold with the creative industry in November 2012.

One of the recommendations in the report is set to lift eyebrows in the Internet arena. The report suggests that “The ECT Act should be amended to require ISPs to adopt a graduated response for repeat infringers, culminating in the suspension of access services to an individual”.

This request is similar to the principle of “three strikes and you’re out”, where Internet users who are repeat copyright offenders can lose their Internet connections.

At this stage the report is merely a set of recommendations regarding the protection of copyright – and therefore has no legal position – but it may well influence the development of laws in future.

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