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Copyright Act, 1978 (Act No. 98 of 1978)

Chapter 2 : Infringements of Copyright and Remedies

24. Action by owner of copyright for infringement


(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, infringements of copyright shall be actionable at the suit of the owner of the copyright, and in any action for such an infringement all such relief by way of damages, interdict, delivery of infringing copies or plates used or intended to be used for infringing copies or otherwise shall be available to the plaintiff as is available in any corresponding proceedings in respect of infringements of other proprietary rights.


(1A) In lieu of damages the plaintiff may, at his or her option, be awarded an amount calculated on the basis of a reasonable royalty which would have been payable by a licensee in respect of the work or type of work concerned.


(1B) For the purposes of determining the amount of damages or a reasonable royalty to be awarded under this section or section 25(2), the court may direct an enquiry to be held and may prescribe such procedures for conducting such enquiry as the court considers necessary.


(1C) Before the owner of copyright institutes proceedings under this section, he or she shall give notice in writing to the exclusive licensee or sub-licensee of the copyright concerned of the intention to do so, and the exclusive licensee or sub-licensee may intervene in such proceedings and recover any damages he or she may have suffered as a result of the infringement concerned or a reasonable royalty to which he or she may be entitled.


(2) Where in an action for infringement of copyright it is proved or admitted that an infringement was committed but that at the time of the infringement the defendant was not aware and had no reasonable grounds for suspecting that copyright subsisted in the work to which the action relates, the plaintiff shall not be entitled under this section to any damages against the defendant in respect of the infringement.


(3) Where in an action under this section an infringement of copyright is proved or admitted, and the court having regard, in addition to all other material considerations, to—
(a) the flagrancy of the infringement; and
(b) any benefit shown to have accrued to the defendant by reason of the infringement,

is satisfied that effective relief would not otherwise be available to the plaintiff, the court shall in assessing damages for the infringement have power to award such additional damages as the court may deem fit.


(4) In an action for infringement of copyright in respect of the construction of a building, no interdict or other order shall be made—
(a) after the construction of the building has been begun so as to prevent it from being completed; or
(b) so as to require the building, in so far as it has been constructed, to be demolished.