Copyright and digital music collections in South Africa.
Polak, Fiona Margaret.
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The crux of the research problem for this study pertains to the fact that, as the world moves towards a digital age, it is imperative that we gain insight into the current copyright laws which govern the transferring of music from the old analogue form to the new digital formats. In terms of the research problem, this study explores the South African Copyright Act No. 98 of 1978 as it pertains to the transferring of sound recordings from analogue to digital format. The study also examined digital copyright laws for sound recordings in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia as well as major copyright conventions and treaties as these international copyright laws impact on the South African situation, especially in terms of reciprocity. Furthermore, the study addressed the issue of balancing the rights between copyright holders and the public good in the preservation and dissemination of knowledge in the digital age. The study employed methodological triangulation which included a literature search, a questionnaire and informal interviews. The population constituted 16 music librarians and two legal librarians who were surveyed. Quantitative and qualitative techniques were employed. Considering the size of the population (18) the results of a self-administered questionnaire were analysed using a calculator. Data collected for the informal interviews was analysed qualitatively. The study revealed that music librarians in South Africa are not well-versed in South African copyright law, especially as it applies to sound recordings. Guidelines, based on the South African Copyright Act No. 98 of 1978, and specifically for South African music librarians, have been formulated concerning both print and the actual sound recordings. It is important for the music librarian to take note that the composition of songs in a sound recording has an individual copyright that is separate from the copyright of the sound recording. Further copyrights can also exist in, for example, the sleeve of an album. It is anticipated that the guidelines will give clarity to music librarians on South African digital copyright legislation with regard to sound recordings.