Computer Programs Copyright Protection in South Africa


This paper gives a modest contribution to the issue of computer programs copyright and its protection in South African. It uses as a case have a look at the selection of the Superb Courtroom of Attraction in Haupt T/A Gentle Copy v Brewers Advertising Intelligence (Pty) Ltd and Others 2006 (4) SA 458 (SCA) (the Haupt’s case). What is the implication of this choice for South Africa in phrases of copyright protection? Is South African copyright protection of software too Soft? What effects this selection can entail as far as software program enterprise is concerned in South Africa?


Can it scare off ability buyers?

Here are a number of the issues the paper is looking at. The paper is divided into 3 sections. The primary section will provide a brief view of the case, the second will address the concept and law of copyrights, sooner or later the 1/3 will address the discussion of the case. The paper will come to be with a end.

1. Records OF THE CASE

Haupt, the appellant, implemented to the Cape High Court docket for an order interdicting the respondents in phrases of the Copyright Act of 1978 from infringing his alleged copyright in some laptop programs. The High Court held that Haupt’s declare couldn’t be sustained and disregarded the software. The selection of the Cape Excessive Court became reversed through the Perfect Court of Attraction which set an order interdicting the respondents from infringing the appellant’s copyright inside the computer packages.


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2. Difficulty OF COPYRIGHTS

2.1 concept of Copyrights

2.1.1 Definition

Copyrights are known as rights to ensure protection of information from duplication and distribution. They’re a subset of highbrow belongings rights that aim to create a balance between the rights of an man or woman in opposition to the ones of the general public with the aid of conferring the writer or author of a work the extraordinary proper to manipulate and benefit from his work.

2.1.2 Infringement of Copyright

The most relevant infringing activities to pc applications contain “copying”, “adapting” and publicly distributing the work. In every case, the hobby may be on the subject of the complete of the paintings or a enormous part of it.

2.2 law

Earlier than dealing with the regulation of computer applications copyright in South Africa, regard have to be needed to the way this query has been addressed in different jurisdictions and internationally, when you consider that this rely has a High international scope.

2.2.1 Global intellectual belongings Organization (WIPO)

computer programs are included as literary works inside the that means of article 2 of the Berne Convention. Such safety applies to laptop applications, something can be the mode or the shape of their expression (article 4).

The Berne Convention affords that copyright vests in the writer of a work (article3).

As illustrated beneath the technique taken by using the WIPO is the overall position at some stage in the world.

2.2.2 Australia

In terms of segment 10(1) the Australian Copyright Act of 1968, laptop applications are blanketed as literary works.

2.2.3 United kingdom

Like in Australia, “literary work” has been extended within the Uk Copyright (laptop programs) Regulations 1992 to include preparatory layout material for a computer application.

2.2.4 The ecu Union

The eu Directive ninety one/250/EEC of 14 Might also 1991 on the legal protection of laptop applications calls for that computer packages and related design substances be protected below copyright as literary works in the sense of the Berne Conference.

2.2.5 Japan

Japan is one of the rare industrialized international locations in which computer packages aren’t included as literary works. The japanese Copyright Act forty eight of 1970 underneath articles 21 and 27 grants the author of a computer program the one of a kind proper to reproduce and adapt his paintings.


2.2.6 South Africa

Copyrights are regulated in South Africa by the Copyright Act ninety eight of 1978. This Act offers copyright protection for a huge style of works, which includes literary works, musical works, inventive works, pc programs, and so on. And states as a trendy rule that copyright vests in the person who creates the relevant work. Though for the reason that modification of 1992, pc applications gained a special reputation in terms of which the copyright vests in the person who exercised control over the making of the computer application, as opposed to the programmer who created the paintings.

Now that the legal framework of copyright has been set, we are able to discuss the selection of the Haupt’s case for this reason.


three.1 Status quo of the infringementthree discussion OF THE HAUPT’S CASE

As mentioned above this is a case of an alleged infringement of copyright in computer applications.

First, for infringement of copyright to be established, it’s miles submitted that a plaintiff need to fulfill exams:

– a causal connection among the alleged infringement and the copyrighted work;
– there should be the objective similarity

within the case at Difficulty, the infringement is truly mounted given that those tests are happy, indeed there is a causal connection among the copyright work and the infringement due to the fact a few quantities of the work had been copied, developing consequently an objective similarity.

Nevertheless, the question which can come to at least one’s thoughts is how come this system changed into created through The first respondent and it is the appellant who’s taken into consideration as the writer even as there was no employment agreement. it is sincerely due to the fact consistent with the Copyright modification Act of 1992, the copyright of laptop programs vests not in the programmer who created the program however in the individual that exercised the manipulate over the making of the program, which is Here the appellant.

No question that this decision is constant with the Copyright Act. however is the method taken with the aid of the Act the most appropriate for the safety of copyrights in South Africa?

3.2 Suitability of pc applications copyright safety in South Africa


As cited above, South Africa has taken a function wholly extraordinary from maximum of overseas jurisdictions and the WIPO as well on the issue of computer programs copyright. indeed, considering 1992 pc packages are not blanketed as literary works with the implication that the copyright in the former applications has shifted from the creator of the paintings to the person exercising manage over the making of this system.
What’s the purpose of this technique while one is aware of that copyright is a legal manner to encourage and defend human creativity and innovation?

It seems to me a weird function, because it takes away all of the purpose of copyrights. Roos (“Rabble Rousing for Cyber Heads: Development in South Africa’s IP regulation and international investment worries” (No eighty two/2006), CIPS), alternatively, contends that the truth that the copyright is shifted from the actual writer to the person that physical activities control over the making of the program does now not honestly be counted because the copyright still exists.

I sincerely do now not proportion this position, my private opinion is that: to award copyright to the incorrect person is not anything else that negation of copyright.

however in which I agree with Roos is when he states that this choice will now not scare off ability buyers, because the traders have after all a coinciding hobby with the birthday party wherein favour the Court docket discovered.

So, as a long way as I am worried, what I will say is that the intent followed by way of the legislature in passing the Copyright amendment Act of 1992 is more monetary than copyright oriented. indeed it strengthens the placement of parties already robust with the aid of giving them greater electricity and does now not surely shield nor inspire human creativity by protecting the works of the thoughts.

Is this difference between South Africa and other jurisdictions and global our bodies merely superficial?

3.three South African approach contra global technique

As stated with the aid of Roos, the mere difference among the South African and the international managing of a laptop application must now not be harassed with the prospect of less protection. Despite the fact that does now not the distinction in this instance amount to discrepancy?

Roos contends that there may be no discrepancy since South Africa protects the copyright in pc packages. He contends that the distinction is merely superficial.

I do now not accept as true with Roos on this point, I’m of the view that the distinction is considerable. indeed, as we’ve got seen inside the second section, the WCT protects pc packages as literary works whilst South Africa protects pc packages as a category of its personal. The copyright vests within the author of the work in phrases of the WCT even as in South Africa, the copyright vests inside the individual exercising manipulate over the making of the pc software. That makes all the difference, which actually amounts to discrepancy.

How can programmers defend themselves against the flaws of the legislation?

3.four Contractual clauses

it’s miles lucky that programmers have nonetheless a manner to shield their copyrights in the laptop programs They’re developing through contractual clauses stipulating that the copyright vests in them. indeed, as submitted by using Roos, “maximum programmers with an interest in maintaining the copyright should fairly negotiate that the copyright vests in them”. but are programmers truely in a position to negotiate any copyright clause favouring them with parties far greater effective than They may be? consequently the efficiency of those clauses in defensive the programmers’ rights remains to be seen.


there is Absolute confidence that the decision of the Supreme Courtroom of Appeal within the Haupt’s case is in compliance with the Copyright Act, so the decision in se isn’t a awful one but the problem is to be found within the legislation that has made viable this selection. The rules, as cited in this paper, has taken a incorrect approach in shielding the copyright in pc programs that wishes to be constant notwithstanding the reality that that is unlikely to scare off ability investors. For that reason, in making a very last choice on the copyright of pc applications, it’s far vital that South Africa don’t forget the international state of affairs and adapts its legal guidelines consequently. A purely domestic answer is not going to be successful since the multimedia era calls for consistency across the prison systems of the sector.