If I want to photocopy more than two chapters of a textbook, and I ask my friends to each copy one chapter for me, have my friends and I infringed on copyright?

Yes, you have infringed on copyright law. If your friends give you the other chapters they are distributing someone else's work illegally. According to UCT's Blanket Licence Agreement you may copy only one chapter of a textbook for personal use (if the book is divided into chapters), or 10% of the overall content (if the book has no chapter divisions).

If my friend copied a CD/DVD that he bought onto another CD/DVD and gave the copy to me, are we breaking copyright?

Yes. Even though your friend legally owns the media, i.e. the actual CD/DVD, he does not own the content that is on the media. Copyright does not pass to the purchaser of the copyrighted material. He could be prosecuted and receive either a severe fine or jail time.

If I download music or movies off the internet, am I breaking copyright even if the content isn't available in South Africa?

Yes, no matter where it is published or made available, you didn't receive permission from the copyright holder to download the content. First check the copyright statement included with the music or movie before downloading the item. If the copyright holder has included a statement saying that the material can be downloaded and/or shared, then you may download it, but only under the terms s/he has allowed.

I bought a CD, and want to rip the music onto my laptop and save it in MP3 format so that I have an extra copy somewhere in case my CD gets lost or damaged. Am I breaking copyright?

Yes, converting CDs into MP3s or any other format for personal use is breaking the Copyright Act of 1978. When you buy a CD, tape or digital file, what you are actually buying is the storage medium, and not the actual music. At the same time, you are also buying a licence to use that medium, and that licence will determine what you can do with the music. You should always check the copyright statement.

If the music is licenced under a Creative Commons licence, depending on what the licence allows, you may make multiple copies or even distribute the music to others.

I borrowed a software CD from ICTS to install onto my PC at home. Is this legal?

Yes, UCT has signed site licence agreements which entitle university members of staff (and in some cases, students) to use certain software at home as well as in the office. To see what software is available under these site licences and who can use them, read the UCT site licenced software article. Remember: If circumstances change and you are either no longer employed by UCT or are no longer registered as a student, you must remove the software from your home PC. Failure to do so results in the home version being an illegal copy of the software.

Is there anywhere at UCT that I can legally download software?

Yes, you can download software from the ICTS website provided you are a student or full time staff member. A list of site licensed software is available at the UCT site licenced software page, and you can download the software from the ICTS Downloads page.

Can I include an image (picture or photo) that I've downloaded from the internet in my work or assignments? Am I allowed to alter the image?

First check the copyright statement included with the image. If the copyright holder has included a statement saying that the material is may be used, then you may download it, but only under the terms they have allowed. You can also go to Creative Commons and look for images under the various Creative Commons licences. If you want to alter a particular image, make sure that its licence allows you to do so.

I've just bought a new home PC and it didn't come with the Microsoft Office software package I need to do my work. Can I ask my friend to install his software onto my PC?

No, each software package CD has its own unique registration number and details. You may not use one package on multiple PCs unless it is stipulated in the copyright licence. Buying software doesn't make you the "owner" of the software; it allows you to install the software onto a PC as stipulated in the copyright licence shown on the disk. UCT staff and students also have access to Office 365. This online platform allows you to use the Microsoft Office productivity suite anywhere and anytime on a desktop computer or mobile device.

Why should I register my work if copyright is automatic?

If legal issues arise, it is easier to claim damages if your work has a certificate of copyright showing you as the author or creator.

If I made photocopies of my lecturer's handouts/notes and gave the copies to a friend who is studying at another university, have I broken copyright?

Yes. You, as a student at UCT, have paid to attend the lecture. Your friend is at a different institution and is not entitled to your lecture notes.

How does UCT deal with copyright infringements and take-down notices?

UCT is a member of the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA), a South African internet industry body not for gain.  ISPA is a voluntary organisation, representing the interests of its members.  All ISPA members are bound by the Association’s Code of Conduct. This Code requires all members to meet certain standards in terms of privacy, consumer protection, spam and protection of minors.

If an individual or organisation feels that their material is being unlawfully accessed they are entitled to send a take-down notification to the ISP concerned. A take-down notice is a formal request to disable unlawful content from being accessed via an ISP's network.

What procedures are followed in the event of a copyright infringement?

ICTS engineers respond as soon as UCT becomes aware of a copyright infringement (e.g. via a take-down notice from an organisation, an internet watchdog body or anti-phishing specialists).

The following procedure is followed:

  1. A call is logged with the IT Helpdesk to block the IP and MAC address of the offending machine to prevent it from accessing the internet.
  2. The offending machine is traced to a faculty or PASS department.
  3. ICTS notifies the relevant faculty or PASS department management team in which the machine is located.

The management team in the relevant Faculty or PASS department must then:

  1. Locate the owner / user of the offending machine.
  2. Take the appropriate preventative and disciplinary action.
  3. Ensure that the offending content is removed from the machine. (If necessary, ICTS engineers can assist in this process.)
  4. Inform the IT Helpdesk once the content has been removed so that network access can be re-enabled.
What will happen to me if I break copyright?

If the infringement happens at UCT, normal disciplinary procedures will be followed. In addition, you may be subjected to either civil or criminal charges, which could result in fines of R5000 per title/album or a 3 month jail sentence.

May I make copies of a text book for my classmates at UCT?

No, when a student gets a copy, it's specifically for that individual, and not for sharing. Students are also not allowed to copy more than the stipulated amount of information from a book or publication.

I'm a lecturer at UCT, may I download and print out an article from the internet and photocopy it for my class of 20 students?

You may print out a copy for your personal or private use, but you may not make copies for students without permission from CHEC as agreed in the UCT Blanket Licence Agreement.

What do I do if I know my friend is breaking copyright by making copies of his CDs and selling them to others?

Ask your friend to read this FAQ and try to persuade him to stop breaking the law.

What is piracy like in South Africa?

Piracy in South Africa is lucrative because pirated goods, and the means to manufacture them, are readily available. You can help to reduce piracy by buying only licenced products thereby avoiding piracy.

What other form of copyright is there?

Moral right is an additional form of protection for works protected by copyright. It protects the way in which your work or creation is used or attributed to you. These rights are personal to the creator of the work and cannot be transferred, although the composer/author can choose to waive them altogether.

How long is copyright valid on a piece of work?

The duration for musical, literary or artistic works (other than photographs) protection is extended for the life of the author, plus fifty years from the end of the year in which the author dies. For sound recordings and published editions, the term is fifty years from the end of the year in which the recording or edition is published.