Netflix concerned that South Africa’s Copyright Bills could harm film sector
Netflix has raised concerns over the proposed Copyright and Performers’ Protection Amendment Bills in South Africa, saying that some of its proposals may have unintended consequences on the film industry in the country.
Speaking to the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ziyanda Buthelezi-Ngcobo from Netflix's Sub-Saharan Africa public policy team emphasized Netflix’s support for the objectives of the Bills, including aligning South Africa with its international obligations and principles of fair compensation for creators.
However, Buthelezi added that some of the proposals could end up harming the very stakeholders that the government is trying to protect.
“The objectives of the Bills are sound, but the approach is misdirected and undermines the fundamentals needed to sustain and incentivize audiovisual production and investment in SA.
"We are concerned that some of the proposals are not going to achieve the intended objectives and will instead harm the very stakeholders that the government is trying to protect," said Buthelezi.
Netflix has echoed the concerns of locals that the bills apply a “one size fits all approach” that is inconsistent with the fundamental legal and economic drivers of the audiovisual sector, raising obstacles for local producers and creators and ultimately reducing work opportunities for all.
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Despite the concerns, Buthelezi expressed Netflix's excitement about South Africa as a market for storytelling, adding that the company sees great potential in the country's diversity and rich history.
“Our diverse languages make for great storytelling… the rich history makes for interesting stories, and the content that's already on our platform travels far and wide and sparks interest from people outside of South Africa.
“So as Netflix, we intend to strengthen our commitment to investing in South Africa’s creative industries,” she said.
Buthelezi also talked about Netflix's investment in the South African economy, saying the company has invested over R2 billion since its arrival in 2016.
She added that at the 2022 South African Investment Conference, Netflix pledged to spend R920 million in the South African economy over the period of 2022-2023 and has released over 12 local titles in the past year alone which resulted in thousands of job opportunities for young people.