What is copyright?
According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO):
Copyright and related rights protect the rights of authors, performers, producers and broadcasters, and contribute to the cultural and economic development of nations. This protection fulfils a decisive role in articulating the contributions and rights of different stakeholders and the relation between them and the public. The purpose of copyright and related rights is twofold: to encourage a dynamic creative culture, while returning value to creators so that they can lead a dignified economic existence, and to provide widespread, affordable access to content for the public.
Which Act governs all aspects of copyright in South Africa?
According to the Dramatic Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation Pty Ltd (DALRO):
The South African Copyright Act 98 of 1978, as amended, governs all aspects of copyright in South Africa. It sets out what is protected, from what it is protected and for how long it is protected. Copyright is territorial. For a work to be eligible for copyright protection the following must be presented:
- Material must be presented in a tangible form
- Creator must be acknowledged by SA law as a legal persona
The rights that are protected, the method of protection and even the period of protection can, and often do, differ from country to country. The principle of copyright protection is, however, common to all the nations which are signatories to the Berne Convention and the Universal Copyright Convention. The countries of the Berne Union (of which South Africa is one) are obliged to incorporate certain basic principles, or minimum standards, in their national laws and are bound to offer reciprocal treatment to works emanating from other parties to the Berne Convention.
What is fair use?
In South Africa, the doctrine of fair dealing
allows copyrighted works to be used for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. However, in an academic environment, fair use allows users to reproduce a copy, to meet reasonable needs, for their own, study, research or private use without seeking permission from the copyright owner. Multiple copies for distribution of a copyrighted work in a classroom situation does not fall within the parameters of fair use.
Typical fair use FAQs by students and lecturers
- Is it correct that as long as I photocopy 10% or less of a published work, this is permitted?
- May I download and print out an article from the Internet and photocopy it for my class of 20 students?
Please make use of the fair use fair use FAQ's
on DALRO’s website for answers to these questions.
How does fair use apply to lecturers using the libraries' short loan sections?
Only course material that comply with Stellenbosch University’s Copyright Guidelines will be accepted for placement in any of the libraries' short loan sections. For more information and a copy of SU’s Copyright Guidelines, please contact the SU Copyright Administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org
Who owns the copyright of my work at Stellenbosch University?
Paragraph 2.2.2 in the Policy now reads as follows:
Students assign to SU their copyrights in all works that may be created in the course of the execution of their study obligations (including all research conducted as part of such studies). These include, inter alia, all presentations, assignments, test and examination scripts, papers, dissertations, theses, sound recordings, video recordings, software, databases, designs and models developed by students in the course of their studies. In this regard, the requirements of the SU yearbook regarding the insertion of copyright notices and authorship declarations into academic materials, such as dissertations and theses, must be complied with. SU may decide in certain cases to assign ownership of the whole or part of the copyright to the student, or may authorise him or her otherwise to utilise the work commercially or otherwise.
How may I publish my research performed at Stellenbosch University?
In conformance with the SU Yearbook it should be noted that students may not publish their assignment/thesis/dissertation or a derivative version thereof in any form other than as an article in an accredited academic journal without the prior written approval of the Dean of the relevant faculty (or his delegate) unless they first publish the relevant research in one or more articles in accredited academic journals recognised for this purpose by SU and they acknowledge in such articles that the research contained therein was performed at SU. SU may, in accordance with Sections 3 and 4 of this Policy, commercially exploit patents, plant breeders’ rights and designs and related know-how emanating from a student’s assignment/ thesis/dissertation.
Visit the publisher's web page for policies on self-archiving within SUNScholar
Where can I get help and training?
Contact the SU Copyright Administrator, Carol Kat (tel.: 021 808 2992 or e-mail
) or use the following e-learning material: