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Copyright User Rights Seminar

8 December 2016, at Wits Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, Johannesburg

Convened by LINK and the American University Washington College of Law's Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP).

LINK and PIJIP convened this workshop on the limitations and exceptions (“user rights”) provisions of the South African Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI's) Copyright Amendment Bill 2015. These Bill's provisions would have broad-ranging effects, including on creators, innovators, consumers and on the work of those who rely on access to copyrighted materials to promote various social and economic purposes. This workshop featured two US academics – Peter Jaszi and Sean Flynn – who discussed how the “fair use” standard proposed in the South African Bill could benefit creativity, innovation and development. The workshop also included experts on library and educational uses, open and Creative Commons licensing, and access to materials by people with disabilities.


  • 09h00                    Reception and registration
  • 09h30                    Welcome and introductions, Luci Abrahams (LINK Centre) and Denise Nicholson (Wits Scholarly Communications Librarian)
  • 10h00                    Peter Jaszi, Fair Use in Action
  •                              Sean Flynn, Empirical Research on the Benefits of Fair Use
  • 11h00                    Break
  • 11h30                    Roundtable discussion on sections of Bill of particular interest to copyright users, creators and innovators
  • 13h30                    Lunch reception (finger lunch)
  • 14h30                    Optional meeting for those interested in discussing follow-on strategies

Peter Jaszi teaches domestic and international copyright law, as well as law and literature. He also directs the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic and helped to establish the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP). With Craig Joyce, Marshall Leaffer and Tyler Ochoa, he co-authors a standard copyright textbook, Copyright Law (Lexis, 7th ed., 2006). Alone and with Martha Woodmansee, he has written several articles on copyright history and theory; together they edited The Construction of Authorship, published by Duke University Press. In 1994, Professor Jaszi was a member of the Librarian of Congress’ Advisory Commission on Copyright Registration and Deposit, and in 1995 he was an organizer of the Digital Future Coalition. Since 2005, Professor Jaszi has been working with Professor Patricia Aufderheide of the American University’s Center for Social Media on projects designed to promote the understanding of fair use by documentary filmmakers and other creators.

Sean Flynn teaches courses on the intersection of intellectual property, trade law, and human rights and is the Associate Director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP). At PIJIP, Professor Flynn designs and manages a wide variety of research and advocacy projects that promote public interests in intellectual property and information law and coordinates PIJIP’s academic program. Professor Flynn is currently directing a multi-disciplinary research project on the social and economic impact of copyright user rights. Prior to joining WCL, Professor Flynn completed clerkships with Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson on the South African Constitutional Court and Judge Raymond Fisher on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and taught Constitutional Law at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa.