The United Nations values the protection of intellectual property so highly that it enshrined it in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Article 27

  1. Everyone has the right to freely participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
  2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Both the Berne Convention and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights specify that the Author of the works has the right to protection NOT the owner of the copyright therein, if the owner of the copyright is not the Author of the works.

The Republic of South Africa is a member of the United Nations and a signatory to the WIPO.

According to WIPO, “copyright and related rights protect the rights of authors, performers, producers and broadcasters, and contribute to the cultural and economic development of nations. This protection fulfils a decisive role in clarifying the rights of different stakeholders and the relationship between them and the public. The purpose of copyright and related rights is to encourage a dynamic creative culture, while returning value to creators so that they can lead a dignified economic existence, and to provide widespread, affordable access to content for the public.”

Copyright protects the right of the Author (creator) to reproduce the work in any manner or form unless otherwise agreed. Limited private or personal use of the work by others is allowed without payment. The ownership of copyright ensures that the creator of the work can earn an income from the commercial use of a significant part of the work, or through unacknowledged use of the work.

In many countries copyright can be assigned, sold or licensed to others. Some countries do not allow the separation of authorship and ownership of copyright. The Author is the owner of the copyright to the works by default and cannot assign the copyright but they can sell license for use of the works.


For further information you can purchase ‘EXPOSED – The Business of Photography’ by Deryck van Steenderen, published by Verse Creative.

“To leave the world a bit better… to know that one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


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