Aug 152014

The South African Screen Federation (SASFED), Documentary Filmmakers’ Association (DFA), University of Capetown IP Unit, and American University’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property will hold a public briefing on the implications of an international research project on “Copyright Users’ Rights and the Clearance Culture in South African Filmmaking.”

Monday, 18 August 2014 | 10am – 2pm
National Film & Video Foundation, 87, Central Street, Houghton, Jhb

Click here for the live webstream

This briefing comes in the context of the South African government’s announced intention to amend the Copyright Act.  Panelists will discuss filmmakers’ potential interests in protecting, clarifying and expanding “user rights” in the law that permit creators and others to use copyright-protected content in subsequent work of authorship. They will report on research by the partner organisations on documentary filmmaker views and perceptions on the rights of filmmakers to reuse and transform material in their filmmaking without licensing restrictions.  In short, the research shows that such practices are common and often thought to be illegal, but are likely fully within filmmaker user rights.

The event will feature a roundtable discussion with the researchers on the outcomes of that research, as well as some of the possible actions that could be taken supported by it, including taking positions in the announced revision of the Copyright Act and the production of best practices statements by filmmaker organisations.

South African and international copyright experts, local filmmakers and government officials will attend, including Peter Jaszi, Professor of Law, American Washington College of Law (see bio attached), Sean Flynn, Associate Director, Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP) at American University Washington College of Law, Tobias Schonwetter, Executive Director, IP Unit, University of Cape Town and regional coordinator of Creative Commons Africa, and Andrew Rens, Senior Research Associate, IP Unit, University of Cape Town.

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Ryan Fortune



SASFED is the South African  Screen Federation, representing the interest of most film and television industry organisations as a collective federation.

Full SASFED Member Organisations: DFA – The Documentary Filmmakers Association / IPO – The Independent Producers Organisation / PMA – The Personal Managers’ Association / SACIA – The Southern African Communications Industries Association / SAGA – South African Guild of Actors / SAGE – South African Guild of Editors / WGSA – Writers Guild of South Africa

SASFED is also formally associated with: CFC – Cape Film Commission / FEPACI – Pan African Federation of Film – Makers / NFVF – National Film and Video Foundation / SOS – Supporting Public Broadcasting.


The University of Cape Town’s Intellectual Property (IP) Unit strives to add an African voice to the global debate on IP-related issues. Our focus is on examining the link between IP, innovation, development and public policy. We aim at creating a leading IP programme in Africa that translates cutting edge research into excellent teaching and increases the number of highly-skilled African IP experts. Important issues range from the way in which we access and share knowledge to strategies how to commercialise inventions and avoid misappropriation. IP is a key determinant of human development, economic growth and competitiveness; and IP rules impact on various public policy areas including health, research and development, bio-diversity, clean technologies, food security, and education.


The Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP) is the nationally recognized intellectual property and information law research and academic program of American University Washington College of Law.  PIJIP’s areas of work and affiliated projects promote information justice in IP policy at home and abroad.

PIJIP has built a large body of work on fair use and other limitations and exceptions to copyright.  Foremost among these is the series of “Codes of Best Practices” or “Principles” for fair use in specific professions or use groups, such as journalismacademic and research libraries, poetry, and documentary filmmakers.  These codes are jointly developed by affected stakeholders, with guidance from PIJIP and the AU Center for Social Media.  Internationally, PIJIP has organized a network of IP scholars that has produced model legislation a supporting materials for countries revising their copyright laws.