Copyright is governed by the Copyright Act No. 98 of 1978 (as amended) and its Regulations (Section 13).
South Africa is a signatory to various international intellectual property agreements, e.g. the Berne Convention (which obliges South Africa to give recognition and protection to copyright works from signatory countries) and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
Africa has signed the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)'s
two Internet Treaties, (i.e. WIPO Copyright Treaty and WIPO
Performances and Phonograms Treaty). but has not yet acceded to them.
Copyright applies to works that have some form of creativity embedded. As such a mere list of facts or data cannot be copyright protected. A grocery list, for instance, is not a creative act and thus cannot be protected. Copyright Law applies to computer programs, literary works, broadcasts, cinematographic films, artistic expressions such as music, photography, painting, drawing, and sculpting related works, and architectural works, as well as published editions and sound recordings. With cinematograph films registration is required as such are complex works embedding several other creative works.