Rightsholders worried about South Africa mobile piracy potential


The IIPA (International Intellectual Property Alliance) is a coalition of a number of US trade associations – including, on the music side, the RIAA and NMPA.

According to TorrentFreak, it is lobbying to have South Africa added to the US Trade Representative’s Priority Watch List, citing the roll out of 4G and 5G in the country as a potential catalyst for exacerbated piracy. At the heart of the lobbying is a concern from the IIPA that potential changes to copyright laws (under the proposed Copyright Amendment Bill) in South Africa are not rigid enough when it comes to fair use.

On top of this, the IIPA is arguing that piracy is already a serious issue in the country, despite the presence of legal services, and that fast mobile connections are only going to make things worse unless tougher measures to crackdown on infringements are put in place.

“Throttling the bandwidth of an entire country isn’t a very popular solution,” notes TorrentFreak. “However, according to the IIPA, there are other options available. They include blocking and shutting down websites, which may require legislation to be updated.”

In our Country Profile on South Africa last year, we noted that there was a real sense of optimism about digital music in the country. “The outlook is bright, as more people sign up to music services,” is how Warner Music South Africa MD Tracy Fraser put it. “There’s a real sense that the music business here is bouncing back.” The IIPA is clearly concerned, but an alternative view is that faster mobile networks rolling out across South Africa should also benefit the legal streaming services there.

Stuart Dredge

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