Pistorius and Mwim (2019)
|Pistorius and Mwim (2019)|
|Title:||The impact of digital copyright law and policy on access to knowledge and learning|
|Author(s):||Tana Pistorius, Odirachukwu S. Mwim|
|Citation:||Pistorius, T. & Mwim, O.S. (2019) The impact of digital copyright law and policy on access to knowledge and learning. Reading & Writing S/I., 10(1)|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||The study consists of a comparative literature review of primary and secondary sources of copyright law in the USA and South Africa, examining the impact of information technologies on copyright regulation, court decisions and law.|
|Data Type:||Secondary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:|
“Background: The evolution in digital technologies has had an enormous impact on traditional copyright notions. Works in digital form have uniform characteristics and these works can be copied, distributed and stored with ease.
Objectives: The focus of this article was how to attain a balance between the need to promote access to works and therefore knowledge and learning, on the one hand, and the protection of the interests of copyright holders, on the other.
Method: Technological protection measures (TPMs) are applied to copyright works in digital form to curb infringement. The authors explore the extent to which TPMs impact on access the knowledge and learning.
Results: The findings of this article suggest a need for possible countermeasures in promoting knowledge and literacy through legislative reform that address the needs of creators and users in developing communities.
Conclusion: The authors conclude that TPMs may hinder data literacy, access to works, teaching and learning, particularly in developing communities. For example, recent attempts to revise South African copyright law have not attained a balanced approach. Keywords: Digital; copyright; knowledge; development; legislation; technological protection measures; TPMs; copyright law; information; communication technologies; ICTs.”
Main Results of the Study
The study concludes that the new exceptions introduced by the South African Copyright Amendment Bill 2017 are too radical, and perhaps in some instances unworkable; it is suggested that this is due to access to affordable education being at the forefront of South African policy. Examples of problematic clauses include:
• no prior authorisation required to reproduce an entire textbook where it’s not otherwise for sale in South Africa or cannot be obtained for a reasonable price (though how to determine this price is unspecified).
• copyrighted works may be included in educational materials without prior authorisation, including course packs, resource lists and virtual learning environments.
• TPM circumvention devices may be used to allow permitted acts, and the trade in TPM circumvention devices is permissible where this is for the purpose of allowing permitted acts.
The article juxtaposes this position with the USA, which has previously ruled that these types of activities are infringement, emphasising that copyright law is for the purposes of property interests, not consumer protection or convenience.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
The study criticises the new and overreaching exceptions introduced by the South African Copyright Amendment Bill 2017. Instead, developing countries should adapt copyright their regulation to economic and social realities, and remain technologically neutral. In this case, the authors suggest a New Zealand style model which allows for regulated use to TPM circumvention devices.