Book review: Multi-sided music platforms and the law, copyright, law and policy in Africa

Our special Kat Chijioke Okorie (Africa Correspondent) is currently appointed a Postdoctoral Research Fellow under the DST/NRF Research Chair in Intellectual Property, Innovation & Development at the University of Cape Town and a Queen Elizabeth Scholar under the Open African Innovation Research (Open AIR) project... and she is the author of a recent publication Multi-sided Music Platforms and the Law, Copyright, Law and Policy in Africa.

This book explores the legal and regulatory framework around copyright protection, competition and  privacy concerns arising from the way multi-sided platforms use copyright-protected music content in digital advertising. In doing so, it provides a road map for reform for stakeholders in South Africa and Nigeria. As Caroline Ncube states in the forward, this is a ground breaking book that is "the first work that considers multi-sided platforms from the above perspectives under South African and Nigerian law". 

The book is presented in 7 chapters. Chapter 1 being an Introduction to Multi-Sided Music Platforms. Setting the focus of the research on multi-sided music platforms, Okorie explains that a multi-sided platform is one that serves multiple and independent, yet distinct markets. For example YouTube and Facebook provide services to its users as well as to its advertisers. In particular a multi-sided music platform uses music content as one of the free products deployed to increase network effects and indirectly attract other customer segments - such as advertising. The chapter explains how these platforms operate, including a look at the terms of use. It then highlights the key issues around these platforms such as; whether the restrictions imposed on platform users and platform firms are permissible within the scope of copyright owners rights; and whether platform firms may be compelled to grant copyright owners access to user data within the permissible scope of privacy law. Lastly, the chapter sets the jurisdictional scope of the book noting that it primarily considers South Africa and Nigeria. It also considers the position under EU, UK and US for comparative purposes.

Chapter 2 is titled Multi-Sided Music Platforms and Key Regulatory Frameworks. It provides a background on the interactions between the applicable regulatory frameworks, relating to copyright, data protection and competition law in the context of multi-sided music platforms. It argues that some aspects of copyright facilitate competition policy goals for example through granting exclusive rights, but that the limitations on those rights such as through term and exceptions, protect the interest of copyright users in accessing and enjoying the works.

Chapter 3 focuses on copyright ownership and infringement on multi-sided music platforms. In particular, it highlights the copyright terms applied in the platforms, explains the exclusive rights under the copyright framework that apply to these platforms, explains how copyright infringement can occur in the platforms, identifies available and possible defences, and highlights basic jurisdictional aspects of a claim for copyright infringement, particularly in Nigeria. It takes a detailed look at the terms of service of YouTube and Facebook, with regard to the permissions granted by the users to the platforms and the usage of music content. It then explains the circumstances of copyright infringement under South African and Nigerian Law, including under reproduction and communication to the public. In relation to defences, Okorie suggests, for example that in South Africa the Copyright Amendment Bill be expanded to include copying for indexing and storage purposes.

Chapter 4 turns to consider Multi-Sided Music Platforms and Privacy Law. It looks at the use of personal data - data processing - in multi-sided music platforms and the privacy protection legal framework in South Africa and Nigeria. It considers the rights of data subjects in relation to the terms of use and privacy policy of the platforms. Okorie argues that the legislation in South Africa and Nigeria are not categorical about the nature of information that may be covered by the right of access.

Three Kats working towards a common goal
Image: Alison Squiers
The fifth chapter addresses the Competition Law Infractions, arguing that competition law complements both copyright and privacy law objectives. From this standpoint, the chapter looks at the application of competition law to the way that music and data are used on the multi-sided platforms. It highlights the problems of applying competition law on platform firms that rely on music content and personal data to provide their service. On the other hand, it also argues that competition is affected in the implementation of the copyright and privacy terms of the platforms, as it creates economic dependences that threaten the freedom to compete

Chapter 6, Regulatory and Advisory Directions, aims to propose ways that South Africa and Nigeria can apply copyright, privacy and competition law to regulate the activities of multi-sided platforms. These include; the possibility of introducing a duly clarified exclusive right of communication to the public, the expansion of the copyright exceptions and a provision for addressing anti-competitive effects of relative dominance within the competition framework in South Africa and Nigeria.

In the conclusion, Okorie draws together her analysis to argue that an improved legal regime is needed to apply copyright, privacy and competition laws to multi-sided music platforms in South Africa and Nigeria.

This book will be of particular interest to lawyers, policymakers and students across Nigeria, South Africa, and internationally among the African Union.

The book launch for Multi-sided Music Platforms and the Law: Copyright, Law & Policy in Africa takes place on Wednesday 12th February, where Dr Okorie will be discussing her book with Professor Adam Haupt of the Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town. Sign up to attend the event at University Of Cape Town on eventbrite here.

326 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9780367137366, £110.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429028380, eBook £39.99

Book review: Multi-sided music platforms and the law, copyright, law and policy in Africa Book review: Multi-sided music platforms and the law, copyright, law and policy in Africa Reviewed by Hayleigh Bosher on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 Rating: 5

No comments:

All comments must be moderated by a member of the IPKat team before they appear on the blog. Comments will not be allowed if the contravene the IPKat policy that readers' comments should not be obscene or defamatory; they should not consist of ad hominem attacks on members of the blog team or other comment-posters and they should make a constructive contribution to the discussion of the post on which they purport to comment.

It is also the IPKat policy that comments should not be made completely anonymously, and users should use a consistent name or pseudonym (which should not itself be defamatory or obscene, or that of another real person), either in the "identity" field, or at the beginning of the comment. Current practice is to, however, allow a limited number of comments that contravene this policy, provided that the comment has a high degree of relevance and the comment chain does not become too difficult to follow.

Learn more here:

Powered by Blogger.