Premium Journalist
1 minute read
2 May 2015
12:22 pm

Piracy of material still a major concern – intellectual property expert


Piracy of music and other material was still a major concern despite beefed up legislation which made it possible to trace and prosecute offenders.

Musicians sing and dance in the streets during a march against piracy on 10 April 2014 in Pretoria. Picture: Christine Vermooten

Intellectual property lawyer, Herman Blignaut said this week it was hard to say exactly how much was lost in revenue, but some have put the estimates of how much South African artists lose to piracy per year as much as R500 million.

Sunday 26 April marked World Intellectual Property Day and Blignaut pointed to mechanism which are in place to help combat piracy.

“In the current state it is possible to find out who is behind the piracy, get an interdict, and get access to their premises and get the equipment that they use removed from them,” he said.

However, Blignaut said artists and big production companies generally did not approach the court to take legal action against widespread pirating due to the time and financial costs involved. Costly legal steps were only generally taken if significant losses were being experienced.

“Sometimes if the case is small, it can be solved with a letter being sent to the person that is responsible for the pirating but it can cost from R5,000 to R500,000 if the case needs to be taken to court,” he said.

Blignaut add that applications like iTunes actually helped to curb piracy because it allowed people to pay only for the song that they wanted, and did not force them to buy the whole album only for one song.

The annual World Intellectual Property Day was launched at the turn of the millennium by the World Intellectual Property Organization to promote and protect creative ideas, which include music, art, trademarks, writings and inventions.