On a knife edge? South Africa’s new copyright law | EIFL

“The Copyright Amendment Bill [B13B – 2017] had been sitting on the desk of President Cyril Ramaphosa for over a year waiting to be signed into law. In June 2020, when Blind South Africa issued a legal challenge over the delay, the President acted. But instead of signing the Bill that had been approved by the legislature, the President used his prerogative to return it to parliament citing constitutional concerns with certain aspects, including new exceptions for libraries, education and persons with disabilities.

The President’s rejection of the Bill is widely seen as the result of pressure by copyright industries, and the threat of trade sanctions and reduced future investment from the United States and the European Union. …

In advance of the briefing, EIFL wrote to the Speaker of the National Assembly and to the Portfolio Committee to pledge support for the Bill. EIFL’s letter sets out how libraries and educational institutions in South Africa, and the millions of South Africans citizens they serve, will benefit greatly from new exceptions designed for non-commercial uses. They will help to re-calibrate the existing copyright system in South Africa which forces resource-deprived institutions to pay high licence fees to largely European and US companies. (For example, the 2011 Copyright Review Commission Report, known as the Farlam Review, confirmed that 70% of copying fees paid by higher education institutions in the previous year were distributed to foreign rightsholders). While this is a windfall for these companies, it is in our view, bad public policy for South Africa.

EIFL’s letter also notes that the exceptions in the Bill are modelled on provisions in the copyright laws of developed countries including Australia, Canada, Israel, Singapore, the UK and the US, that the Bill seeks merely to ensure that libraries and educational institutions in South Africa have the same rights than their counterparts in these countries, and any concerns that they may be inconsistent with South Africa’s obligations under international copyright treaties are misplaced….”

FOIA: Film industry lobbies South Africa’s Parliament to suspend Copyright Amendment Bill | Knowledge Ecology International

“Through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) has obtained 311 pages of correspondence between officials from the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) and employees of the Motion Picture Association (MPA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and other entities including law firms on matters regarding South Africa and copyright policy. The FOIA request was filed by Claire Cassedy on October 29, 2019. The 311 page document is available here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1wUYHzgwtYUaYiMLLeGfV7ucxk5Q1tpu0/view?usp=sharing

The correspondence dates from December 2018 to November 2019 and reveals an assiduous campaign mounted by the MPA and RIAA to thwart the passage of South Africa’s Copyright Amendment Bill in the South African Parliament and to prevents its signing by the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa. The MPA and RIIA, working in concert with the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) petitioned USTR to impose higher tariffs on South Africa (by revoking the Generalized System of Preferences) over concerns with, inter alia, the fair use provisions contained in South Africa’s Copyright Amendment Bill….”

FOIA: Film industry lobbies South Africa’s Parliament to suspend Copyright Amendment Bill | Knowledge Ecology International

“Through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) has obtained 311 pages of correspondence between officials from the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) and employees of the Motion Picture Association (MPA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and other entities including law firms on matters regarding South Africa and copyright policy. The FOIA request was filed by Claire Cassedy on October 29, 2019. The 311 page document is available here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1wUYHzgwtYUaYiMLLeGfV7ucxk5Q1tpu0/view?usp=sharing

The correspondence dates from December 2018 to November 2019 and reveals an assiduous campaign mounted by the MPA and RIAA to thwart the passage of South Africa’s Copyright Amendment Bill in the South African Parliament and to prevents its signing by the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa. The MPA and RIIA, working in concert with the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) petitioned USTR to impose higher tariffs on South Africa (by revoking the Generalized System of Preferences) over concerns with, inter alia, the fair use provisions contained in South Africa’s Copyright Amendment Bill….”

EU Joins In The Bullying Of South Africa For Daring To Adopt US-Style Fair Use Principles | Techdirt

“As part of its copyright reform, South Africa plans to bring in a fair use right. Despite the fact its proposal is closely modeled on fair use in American law, the copyright industry has persuaded the US government to threaten to kill an important free trade deal with South Africa if the latter dares to follow America’s example. If you thought only US copyright companies were capable of this stunningly selfish behavior, think again. It seems that the European copyright industry has been having words with the EU, which has now sent a politely threatening letter to the South African government about its copyright reform (pdf)….”

New publishing model pins hopes on ‘unity of purpose’

“Higher education leaders in South Africa are looking to move to a European model for open access (OA) publishing of scholarly articles as soon as possible, according to the body that coordinates the country’s public universities.

Under the plan, an estimated ZAR500 to ZAR600 million, which is currently being spent on journal subscriptions, would be funneled into new “transformative” agreements with the big five academic publishers – Reed-Elsevier, Taylor & Francis, Wiley-Blackwell, Springer and Sage – as the country’s universities move to a pay-to-publish model for funding the dissemination of research….”

Production Lead, P2PU

“Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) is a U.S.-based non-profit organization that supports community-based alternatives to mainstream formal education. Since 2015, we’ve been running learning circles: in-person study groups for people who want to learn something together. Learning circles currently meet in public libraries and community centers around the world: our partners include public library systems in Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Kansas City, Charlotte, Los Angeles, Toronto, Berlin, Cologne, and Braga (PT) as well as national organizations in Kenya, Poland, Romania, and Finland.

P2PU’s role supporting learning circles is multi-faceted: we build open source software to support in-person learning communities, we train individuals to facilitate learning circles and maintain a virtual facilitator community of practice, we develop and curate open educational resources, and we help our partners build new pathways for community-based learning in their towns and cities….”

Open Repositories 2020 – Stellenbosch, South Africa

“The Open Repositories Steering Committee and Stellenbosch University is delighted to announce that the 15th Open Repositories Conference will be held in Stellenbosch, South Africa, from 1-4 June 2020. The conference will be organised by Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service who looks forward to welcoming delegates to the first Open Repositories Conference (OR) on the African continent….”

Call for Proposals – Open Repositories 2020

“The 15th International Conference on Open Repositories, OR2020, will be held in Stellenbosch, South Africa, from 1-4 June 2020. The organisers are pleased to invite you to contribute to the program. This year’s conference theme is: Open for all. 

In today’s world, access to knowledge by all is viewed by some as a fundamental freedom and human right. In our societies, open knowledge for all can enable sustainable development and growth on many levels. How well do repositories support knowledge in the service of society? How well do they enable local knowledge sharing and support not only academic use, but also use in education and practice? …”

 

Embracing New Trends in Scholarly Communication: From Competency Requirements in the Workplace to LIS Curriculum Presence

Abstract:  INTRODUCTION Scholarly communication has undergone dramatic change in the digital era as a result of rapidly evolving digital technology. It is within this context of evolving scholarly communication that this paper reports on an inquiry into (1) the extent to which university libraries in South Africa are actively embracing new and emerging trends in scholarly communication; and (2), the extent to which LIS school curricula in South Africa are responding to new and emerging scholarly communication competencies required in university libraries. METHODS This qualitative study, located within an interpretivist epistemological worldview, was informed by the Operational Elements of Scientific Communication aspect of Khosrowjerdi’s (2011) Viable Scientific Communication Model. Data was collected using summative content analysis of university library job advertisements over a four-year period; South African university libraries’ organizational organograms; and course descriptions available on the websites of South Africa’s LIS schools. RESULTS & DISCUSSION A review of job advertisements and organograms shows that on the whole university libraries in South Africa are embracing the new and emerging trends in scholarly communication, but some university libraries are performing better than others in adopting emerging scholarly communication services such as RDM, digital humanities, or research landscape analysis. Course description analysis provides evidence that LIS schools’ curricula, as per global trend reported in the literature, do not seem to be keeping pace with developments in scholarly communication. CONCLUSION The ambivalent nature of an evolving scholarly communications field with unclear definitions and boundaries necessitates professional practitioners who are adaptable and open to change as well as an LIS education curriculum that is in constant review to seamlessly embrace an evolving field propelled by advancing digital technologies.

Embracing New Trends in Scholarly Communication: From Competency Requirements in the Workplace to LIS Curriculum Presence

Abstract:  INTRODUCTION Scholarly communication has undergone dramatic change in the digital era as a result of rapidly evolving digital technology. It is within this context of evolving scholarly communication that this paper reports on an inquiry into (1) the extent to which university libraries in South Africa are actively embracing new and emerging trends in scholarly communication; and (2), the extent to which LIS school curricula in South Africa are responding to new and emerging scholarly communication competencies required in university libraries. METHODS This qualitative study, located within an interpretivist epistemological worldview, was informed by the Operational Elements of Scientific Communication aspect of Khosrowjerdi’s (2011) Viable Scientific Communication Model. Data was collected using summative content analysis of university library job advertisements over a four-year period; South African university libraries’ organizational organograms; and course descriptions available on the websites of South Africa’s LIS schools. RESULTS & DISCUSSION A review of job advertisements and organograms shows that on the whole university libraries in South Africa are embracing the new and emerging trends in scholarly communication, but some university libraries are performing better than others in adopting emerging scholarly communication services such as RDM, digital humanities, or research landscape analysis. Course description analysis provides evidence that LIS schools’ curricula, as per global trend reported in the literature, do not seem to be keeping pace with developments in scholarly communication. CONCLUSION The ambivalent nature of an evolving scholarly communications field with unclear definitions and boundaries necessitates professional practitioners who are adaptable and open to change as well as an LIS education curriculum that is in constant review to seamlessly embrace an evolving field propelled by advancing digital technologies.