Frequently Asked Questions

Making for sale or hire any article which the manufacturer knows or has reason to believe is an infringing copy of a protected work (e.g. compact disc, videotape)
Selling or renting; offering or exposing for sale or rent; exhibiting in public or distributing in the course of business, any article which the offender knows or has reason to believe is an infringing copy of a work.
Distributing any article which the offender knows or has reason to believe is an infringing copy of the work, other than in the course of business.
Importing an infringing copy of a work other than for private or domestic use. All of the acts set out above must be done to such a degree as to prejudice the rights of the copyright owner.

The illegal copying of music onto compact discs, and/or audio cassettes.
Anyone involved in the production, sale and distribution of these items may be found guilty of an offence. The downloading and/or copying of computer software (whether game, educational or business software) for distribution or sale purposes, without authorisation of the copyright owner.
The copying and recording of movies and /or video for commercial rental without the permission of the copyright owner or production studio. Making photocopies of a book or other printed material without the permission of the owner or publisher.

If convicted under section 132 of the Copyright Act for making illicit copies of a copyrighted work, the offender may be sentenced by a Magistrate to a fine of up to $50,000.00, imprisoned for up to 2 years, or both. On conviction before the High Court, the offender may be fined up to $150,000.00, jailed for 5 years, or both.
If an offender is found guilty of dealing in infringing works, section 46 provides for fines ranging from $25,000.00 to $50,000.00 and terms of imprisonment ranging from 2 to 3 years, if sentenced by a Magistrate. On indictment, the range of fines that may be imposed by a Judge is $50,000.00 to $100,000.00; the terms of imprisonment from 3 to 5 years.
Liability lies not only with persons in possession of infringing works, but also with persons in possession of the means to carry out illicit duplication of copyrighted works (VCRs, recording equipment for audio cassettes, pressing plants and CD-R and CD-RW drives for duplication of compact discs and CD-ROM.
Companies and other bodies corporate may also be liable for copyright infringement. If a director, corporate secretary, or manager of the company has consented or connived to the infringement of copyright, that person may be liable to the same criminal sanction.

Under section 47 of the Act, the owner may seek, or the Court may make on its own volition, an Order requiring the offender to “deliver up” all infringing copies to the copyright owner.
The Court must be satisfied that the offender was in possession of the illicit copies of the copyright work at the time of his arrest or charge. This Order can also be made in respect of the means or equipment for the purpose of making copies. (see above)
This Order may be followed up with an Order to

forfeit the infringing article to the copyright owner;
destroy the infringing article; or
dispose of the infringing article by such means as the Court sees fit.
It should be pointed out that an Order for delivery up of infringing material cannot be applied for nor made after six years after the date that the infringing copy was made or in certain specified instances, six years after the date of discovery of the existence of the infringing copy.

No prosecution can be mounted after five years from the date of the commission on an offence under the Act, or one year from the date of discovery of the commission of the offence, whichever is later.

Wilful obstruction of an officer in the execution of his duties, or failure to assist the officer in the execution of his duties by a person suspected of infringing copyrighted works is an offence under section 140 of the Act.
Any person who knowingly gives false information in the circumstances is liable to be charged. This includes the false warranty of authorization to give consent to the mounting of an investigation.

A police officer is empowered under section 138 of the Act, once a warrant is issued, to enter any premises or place, stop, board and search any civilian vessel or aircraft, or stop and search any vehicle, in which that officer reasonably suspects there is an infringing copy of a copyrighted work, or any article or equipment used or intended for use in the production of infringing material.
A police officer may also seize, remove, or detain any article which appears to be an infringing copy of an illicit recording or equipment for the production of such copies. Other powers relating to search and seizure are set out in the Act.

The copyright owner may

seek an injunction to prevent the offender from copying, distributing or importing/ exporting illicit copied of his works;
An order may be sought for delivery up of the infringing article, under similar constraints as for delivery up in criminal cases
An order may be sought for disposal of infringing materials
A lawsuit may be brought and damages awarded against the offender
An order known as an “Anton Piller” Order may be applied for on behalf of the copyright owner or his agent, allowing for the search, seizure and detention of infringing materials, equipment used for the production of infringing materials, or records of transactions in infringing works. This order is subject to stringent conditions; the advice of an attorney-at-law should be sought prior to seeking this or any other civil remedy.

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