Police protecting SA from “illegal” shirts (and iPods?)

As part of the state-corporate criminal take-over of South Africa, otherwise known as the 2010 FIFA Sucker World Cup, police have been clamping down on “illegal” T-shirts. In Pretoria this week, five Ethiopians were reported arrested on charges of dealing in counterfeit goods. Now, in a country which is second in murder and first in rape, does the public really demand protection against counterfeit (whatever that means) T-shirts? Is it really necessary to arrest people for a putative offense that does not harm anyone or anything except corporate profits and poses no imminent danger that cannot be obviated by simple confiscation of the shirts? When does intellectual property vest in a yellow shirt with a national symbol on it?

In the meantime the Intellectual Property Research Unit at UCT have confirmed that it is illegal in South Africa to rip your own CDs and put them on an MP3 player or iPod. This issue has been discussed in the blogosphere before and it stems from a special provision in SA's Copyright Act for sound recordings. Otherwise SA has, as far as I know, fairly generous fair use provisions. Can we expect the police soon to be stopping people and arresting them for using an iPod with “counterfeit” music on it? This ridiculous notion is supported by a dinky industry association website stoppiracy.org.za which shows how close to the coalface it is by proclaiming that
“[b]y buying pirate music you are supporting organised crime”
which will, I am sure, come as a great shock to those who are in the habit of paying for pirated music!

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