Wikimedia South Africa/Freedom of Panorama 2017

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

Calling for Freedom of Panorama
Wikimedia South Africa calls for Freedom of Panorama to be included into the new South African Copyright Act

File:1024px-360° Freedom of Panorama presentation 3.jpg
A 360 degree photograph of the presentation that Wikimedia ZA representative Douglas Scott gave to the South Africa Parliament motivating the need for Freedom of Panorama to be included into the new Copyright Act. Click here to see the photograph in 360 degrees.

2017 is now almost over and what a year it has been for Wikimedia South Africa. Between being awarded the hosting of Wikimania 2018 in Cape Town and a number of chapter outreach activities we have also been active in advocating for creative commons. I am of course talking about the chapter's efforts to promote Freedom of Panorama in South Africa by advocating for its inclusion into the new version of the South Africa Copyright Act that is being drawn up.

We started on this road back in 2014 when we were informed of a motion to update the copyright act. Our experience hosting Wiki Loves Monuments in the past highlighted the detrimental impact of a lack of Freedom of Panorama in South Africa. The chapter elected to support the call for freedom of panorama and we began engaging with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to get it included into a new version of the act. Despite our efforts and support from the DTI an updated bill presented in early 2017 did not make allowances for Freedom of Panorama.

As such the chapter organised a campaign to get it included when it went up for the second round of public comments in from June-August 2017. This involved a petition campaign with a banner on Wikipedia (with the support of the South African Wikipedia community) as well as a petitions and parliamentary submissions by the chapter. This culminated in a presentation to Parliament on the 2nd August 2017 on the need for Freedom of Panorama which was well received at the time. We have yet to find out if our efforts were successful as the new version of the Copyright bill has not been announced. However, the feedback we got in parliament on the issue was promising.