The Department of Science and Technology has cited serious concerns with a new provision in the Copyright Amendment Act, which could mean that any new technology, art and research funded by government will give the state a complete copyright over the work.

According to a report by BusinessDay, the department raised these issues in a submission to Parliament’s trade and industry committee, stating that the provision would have “serious implications for all our higher education institutions, science councils and any other publicly financed research institutions”.

“They are all regarded as being publicly financed, either through a parliamentary grant or through an allocation from national, provincial or municipal government,” it said.

The amendment would mean any research recorded and published by these groups or people will immediately vest in the government. Researchers would not be able to produce a publication from their works and would not be able to assign the copyright to a local or international publishing house.

It also means that these institutions will no longer be the recipient of any funds they would typically receive from this research, and that all copyright held by individuals would automatically transfer to the state on their death in the absence of an estate. read more