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Copyright procedures & guidelines at University of Pretoria, Department of Library Services.

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a 'bundle' of exclusive rights, given to authors and creators, to protect their original works (i.e. literary, musical and artistic works, cinematograph films, sound recordings, published editions and computer software). It is not the 'right' of the user to copy!

Authors and creators have these exclusive rights in terms of the SA Copyright Act No. 98 of 1978 (as amended):

  • To reproduce the work in any manner or form;
  • To publish the work if it has not been published before;
  • To perform the work in public;
  • To broadcast the work;
  • To cause the work to be transmitted in a diffusion service;
  • To make an adaptation of the work

(These activities also apply to adaptations)

Copyright provides an incentive for creativity and a means of financial compensation for authors and creators of intellectual property.

To have Copyright protection, a work must be in a material format.

Ideas do not have Copyright protection - only the expression of those ideas is protected.

There is no Copyright in facts, the news of the day, or in political speeches. Authors however, have the exclusive right to make a collection of their speeches.

One can safely assume that if something is Copyrightable in print, it is also Copyrightable in electronic forms.

Authors/creators also have moral rights, i.e. the right to be named as author of the work and the right to protect their works from mutilation or distortion. 

Acknowledgement is given to the University of the Witwatersrand, Scholarly Communications & Copyright Services Office, 1 Jan Smuts Avenue, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2013.