Zimbabwean law will put legislation, parliamentary gazette, etc, under state copyright

Joeblack69 says, "Our Justice Minister in Zimbabwe is currently steering a bill through Parliament that I believe requires scrutiny. The General Laws Amendment Bill, among other issues, seeks to amend the Copyright and Neighbouring Act by giving copyright protection to legislation, notices and other material in the Government Gazette, court judgments and certain public registers. Copyright in all these documents will vest in government. Government, as copyright holder."

Which means, fundamentally, that the law and the doings of government will become copyrighted, and not freely distributable to the governed. Versions of this are already law in many commonwealth countries, and it sucks here; Zimbabwe's version is even more extreme than the versions that we in the UK and Canada labour under.

Veritas, a local lawyers grouping, blasted the changes as inimical to democracy.

"The amendment proposed by clause 16 of the Bill will violate Section 20 of the Constitution, will be inimical to transparent government, human rights and the rule of law, and will be contrary to best practice in the southern African region," Veritas said.

"Amending the Copyright and Neighbouring Act has serious implications for the rights of citizens to freely access and distribute legislation, notices and other material in the Government Gazette, court judgments and certain public registers. It is important that such information should remain in the public domain." Section 10 of the current Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act does not subject certain public documents to copyright such as official texts or statutes; official texts of judicial proceedings and decisions (judgments); notices and material published in the Government Gazette and the contents of official registers.

General Laws Bill 'inimical to democracy' (Thanks, Joeblack69, via Submitterator!)
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