DALRO Copyright Conference demonstrates the value of licensing

On 30 August, the Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation of South Africa (DALRO) organised a one-day conference for its higher education licensees.

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Professor Ngubane opening the conference © IFRRO

DALRO, since it began licensing the education sector, regularly invites its licensees to meet and discuss the benefits and features of the solutions offered to them. On 30 August 2019, around 50 representatives from universities all across South Africa met with the DALRO team and copyright experts in Johannesburg.

After an opening by Professor Ngubane, Chair of DALRO and of the Association of Non-Fiction Authors of South Africa (ANFASA), IFRRO’s Pierre-Olivier Lesburguères made a presentation on the reality of collective licensing in the rest of Africa, with examples from Ghana, Zambia and Tunisia. Carlo Scollo-Lavizzari (Lenz Caemmerer) gave an update on South Africa’s controversial Copyright Bill and shared an international perspective on the main features of the bill, showing how, if enacted, the fair use provisions of the Bill would run counter to international copyright norms. Monica Seeber (ANFASA) emphasised the critical importance of collective licensing for South African writers, who can receive more copyright revenues from licensing than they do from their authors’ contracts.

Carol Kat (Stellenbosch University) outlined the main features of the licence that her university signed, more than twenty years ago, with DALRO, and Andrew Joseph and Veronica Klipp (WITS University Press) shared the perspective of local publishers on copyright protection and the importance of licensing that helps them to invest and innovate.

The day came to an end with DALRO’s Kyle Green presenting the new online platform that DALRO is developing to make licensing seamless and simpler. The CEO of DALRO, Lazarus Serobe, thanked all attendees for their active participation and emphasised that whatever happens with the Copyright Bill (for which IFRRO, alongside many others, has warned against the potentially devastating impact for culture in South Africa), DALRO will continue to engage with the education sector and continue to offer more modern and valuable licences.

Two weeks after the conference, DALRO’s Monde Mngoma made a presentation on the value of licensing and how it sustains creators’ livelihoods at an event celebrating Africa’s Copyright and Collective Management Day, with many students in attendance. Collective management of copyright has an over 20 year history in South Africa and is more relevant today than ever.