“We welcome the decision taken by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) to raise local content on its radio stations to 90%. Local content develops, protects and promotes our national identity, culture and character. Local content broadcast is an important element in the economy, as it determines market share. The more local content is used by broadcasters and other users the more the owners of the content receive financial benefit.”
Minister Mthethwa also cautioned however that: “We would also like to impress on all local content producers the importance of keeping ownership of their content, because if the content is sold to external players, the inevitable result is that money accrued through the exploitation of the rights will eventually leave our shores. The selling of local catalogues or local intellectual property to non-local parties can also work against this major breakthrough.”
Minister Mthethwa also expressed support for artists in general and musicians in particular on local content: “We are aware that, if not well supported, the smaller players might experience less freedom to act in the marketplace. As such the Department is committed to providing not only support for developing products, but also assistance and advice relevant to the protection of ownership rights and thus ensuring that local content remains local in a true sense. The onus is now on local content producers to continue to develop and produce content for radio and television broadcast that maintains current standard of quality and innovation and indeed takes this to even greater heights.”
It is also essential, the Minister highlighted, for sustainable business practices and models to inform content development so that the maximum benefit is derived from the amendments to the SABC’s local content policy.
Cabinet approved the recommendations of the Copyright Review Commission (CRC) in 2012, and in so doing initiated the process of reviewing the copyright regime and local content quotas. A joint effort of government led by the Department of Trade and Industry and supported by the Departments of Arts and Culture and Communication have played an active role in these processes. Wide ranging amendments to the current copyright regime including expanding local content quotas, strengthening and transforming copyright collection regimes and updating copyright legislation to engage with demands of the digital age.
“We thank SABC for leading the way in practice and look forward to the implementation of a new copyright regime that benefits the creative industries and artists in particular. Let other broadcasters also follow suit,” said Minister Mthethwa.
For more information, contact: Lisa Combrinck at 082 821 4886