FPB threatens sanctions against Netflix - TechCentral

FPB threatens sanctions against Netflix


South Africa’s Film and Publication Board (FPB) is getting ready to do battle with Netflix, reportedly giving the US streaming media service two weeks to comply with local regulations or face sanctions. But a top lawyer has warned that the FPB could be acting “extra-legally” in making the demand.

Kenyan website Standard Digital has reported that FPB chief operating officer Sipho Risiba has slapped licensing fees on Netflix that the video-on-demand provider has not yet paid.

Risiba made the remarks in Nairobi this week, where he signed a memorandum of understanding with the Kenya Film Commission. The commission has also sought to regulate Netflix in the Kenyan market.

“We are emboldened by this progress from our brothers and the same initiatives have been seen in Indonesia where Netflix has been asked besides these fees to open an office and have Indonesians employed,” Kenya Film Commission CEO Ezekiel Mutua is quoted as having said.

The website quoted Risiba as saying that the FPB has given Netflix the option of having its employees trained by South Africa to bring them up to speed on the local regulations.

Any attempt by the Film and Publication Board to levy this fee should be resisted. I do not believe it is a lawful demand

“Our values are different from the American values and their 16-year-old is not necessarily our 16-year-old and that’s why they must re-rate the films in conformity with our standards,” he reportedly said.

TechCentral could not immediately reach Risiba on his mobile phone for comment.

However, ICT sector lawyer Dominic Cull warned that that FPB is acting “extra-legally”, or beyond the scope of the law, in attempting to regulate online content providers without a legislative framework in place.

He said the board is demanding up to R750 000 — soon rising to R795 000 — from these companies and they are getting little or nothing of value in return.

“Any attempt by the Film and Publication Board to levy this fee should be resisted. I do not believe it is a lawful demand,” Cull said.

He said that if the FPB wants to regulate online content distributors like Netflix, it must first get the necessary legislative amendments through parliament. Currently, he said, there is no definition in the Films and Publications Act of an online content distributor.  — (c) 2016 NewsCentral Media


  1. Richard Wickens on

    Now THAT is a money grabbing attempt, go crawl back into your dark corner FPB and rate your naval fluff.

  2. Greg Mahlknecht on

    Netflix’s content is generally pretty old, I’m sure almost every single item has either been on cinema, in video stores on DSTV at some point – can’t they use those ratings?

  3. William Stucke on

    Don’t be silly, Greg. That would require using logic and – dare I say it – being reasonable.
    Fundamentally incompatible with the mind-set of a censor.

  4. Jannie Van Der Walt on

    Sound like the dude at the robot cupping his hands, then getting upset if you shake your head.

  5. It suite Nexflix very well, they busy blocking payments all over the place because of their own copyright deals that went sour to capture more subscribers and have a bigger footprint, typical American company. So now they being blocked, it works both ways. Regulators should have a say in the way these companies do their dealings.

  6. Then rather pack your bags and move to greener places…we don’t need your kind in Africa.

  7. Very typical response from an intellectually challenged individual that thinks burning universities is the way forward and that whites are evil. Rather pack YOUR bags, SA needs quality people, not bottom of the barrel rubbish. PS: the SS is a piece of crap for people with nothing between their legs.

  8. You don’t get to decide who stays and who goes. In fact, if that’s your attitude, we don’t need your kind in Africa.

  9. The local African word for“white man or European” Mlungu or or Umlungu most likely has it’s root in the Swahili word Mzungu for the same, also sometimes with a supremacist or elitist connotation to it. Swahili is the predominant language in East Africa (Malawi, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania) and is influenced heavily by the Arabic, a Middle Eastern language.

    The Middle East including Egypt(Africa) was the cradle for modern civilisation which was based on the development of written language, which enabled people to leave messages of social, artistic and technological advances over generations, unaltered an unbiased. From there Civilisation spread through North Africa, Europe, and through India eastward.

    The ability to read and write was however reserved to the Elite literate until a Pleb (Latin for common citizen, with Latin also having roots in
    Arabic:) came along and invented the printing press, which caused the
    renaissance in Europe. The Renaissance meaning rebirth or revival of interest in art, culture and the development of modern science, meant that Plebs were able to break the chains of oppression by the Elite Patricians (Latin for aristocrats or noblemen) through education brought on by the widespread availability of printed books in far greater volumes thus making it easier to learn to read and write for the Plebeians.

    Education and technology allowed Europeans to explore and move away from Europe while documenting explorations and establishing new and more effective trade routes to the East.

    At the southern end of Africa, the result of the mass educated Renaissance intersected with a still largely illiterate monarchical( meaning monarch or King, mono, one, has sole, all power) based
    civilisation, still ruled by largely illiterate monarchs, moving southward along the eastern coast of Africa to the “greener” hills of Kwazulu Natal and the Eastern Cape, away from the disease ridden tropics with their cattle.

    SA needs educated people.

    The Internet is the modern equivalent of Gutenberg’s printing press and a new worldwide renaissance.

    Everybody needs uncensored access to the internet, as films and documentaries are the modern equivalent to social, artistic and technological development.

    And on that note, go and research the origins on the dreaded American “N.. word” as well as the “K.. word” both with Arabic/Latin roots…..

  10. Dude Europe is waiting for you, go back to your roots. Your comment should have read…”One step forward and many blacks, the African way.”

  11. Tell your buddy not to dish Africa and the people of all races that is living on the continent we not all backward thinkers like him. Europe and America has their own problems which they created themselves because of their own stupid policies.

  12. Dude copying from Wikipedia and posting as your true words is called plagiarism…

  13. “Dude”, I have stayed in Dar es Salaam for 3 years, working throughout Tanzania, including Nairobi where our head office was, and also Kampala(Uganda). Facts are facts. Wiki pages try to reflect facts as accurately as possible with reference to notes references and links at the bottom of each page. That is a process loosely referred to as “research”. None of us have lived a 100 or more years ago and have to rely on research from good sources in order to build a clear picture of what happened more than even 50 years ago, so true, you will find most known facts in Wiki pages as well. Personal experiences combined with some common knowledge in the public domain and some research does not constitute plagiarism, unless you can point me to a Wiki page that has more or less the exact same scope and content as what I noted down in my reply. If you do find lots of different Wiki pages supporting what I said, it means I have most likely told the truth…. not true?

  14. By your measure of plagiarism you are actually plagiarizing the English dictionary by writing in English 🙂 I have never taken note of the word Mlungu until I arrived in Tanzania, and when you arrive in a small village not frequented by Europeans, the only words you hear from little children while pointing at you is MUZUNGU MUZUNGU!! spelled the way they pronounce it.

  15. You must absolutely FLY through IQ tests – but for the wrong reason. Your narrow-mindedness and instinctive racist comments are unfortunately all you will ever amount to, sadly. Your comments are water and I’m the duck’s back. If I must go back to Europe you can go back to central Africa.

  16. There is very little correlation between IQ and education. High IQ does not mean that you are educated,nor does the opposite apply. If you read racism into facts, I surely can not assist you. The big reason why the forefathers of Plebs like us left Europe was to break free from economic and religious oppression, instituted by the Elite since the Roman Empire. The most well known in SA being the French Huguenots and the whole of the USA. If you want to see racism alive and well go to the USA, a nation of immigrants built on the labor of slaves and complete elimination of indigenous races with Australia following close behind but then they could not import so many slaves from Africa as they would not survive the long journeys, so they cooked up their own version.
    If you have READ some of my other comments, as well as the above you will realise that I am a strong supporter for broad based access to a “free uncensored Internet”, which in turn is the modern day equivalent of Gutenberg’s printing press. I will gladly continue anywhere in Africa while you return to being a Pleb in Europe as they are still supporting monarchies even though nowadays mostly so called “symbolical”.
    In EAST Africa, I had just about as good or better and cheaper access to the internet than I currently have in SA and that was more than 10 years ago, and for that very reason many stable African democracies currently achieve economic growth rates well in excess of our own, while our politicians strive after the examples of Zimbabwe politically, and China where the internet is completely censored in order to maintain a modern day equivalent of economic slavery. Those African counties that are embracing new technologies and education are in the process of leapfrogging themselves forward for the prosperity of of their entire nations.

    So in short, yes I am currently seriously considering moving back to EAST Africa, and this time for good because there, I am not subjected to reverse racism being called acceptable names like affirmative action or BEE either. I am just awaiting the outcome of the “zumagate” and the elections before making up my mind.

  17. Your first statement clearly reflects that all Africans eg, white & black “people of all colour” living on the continent is one step behind who? The Europens! I grew up with all people of colour in South Africa and know for a fact that most of the people living here want to make Africa a better place. Then the 5% of including yourself is always giving some negative comment to make us all look like “one step behind”.

  18. So the fact that I’m bemoaning the continent’s greedy and corrupt politicians means that I think all people of colour are backwards? Grow up!

  19. Sorry I don’t understand your thinking…your statement clearly referred to the “African way” which included we as South Africans as we part of the African continent and living on its soil. Just admit you made a mistake with your statement and rephrase it, then we can start over and not hang around the issue. I’m mature enough to admit I made a mistake in this debate. I’m just voicing my opinion is that a sin? There is no right or wrong opinion its called having an opinion.

  20. The Middle East (Arabic) was first to be literate, and the center of civilization. From there it spread to Europe the quickest, as a factor determined by geography. From Europe it started spreading to the rest of the world more quickly by ships, so geographical distance from the center(Middle East), as limiting factor for the spread was breached.
    FORGET color and race and start thinking EDUCATION. Nobody can change the past. Many years ago being literate more or less distinguished the Elite from the Plebs and that happened mostly and first in the Middle East and Europe. Today we are all more or less all literate, so the new distinguishing factor between plebs and elite becomes not IQ(which more or less implies some genetically inherited trait), but EDUCATION!
    Companies hiring programmers do not care one bit about a degree from a university, they want to see what you have done, and can do, coding, punching a keyboard. You can learn programming from very well structured courses in the internet for FREE, to name just one example.
    Another example, a few weeks ago I downloaded an Android app from Playstore for converting different formats of graphic images from one to the other, and noticed some Ugandan based advertisements and upon further investigation confirmed my suspicion that the developer of the App was indeed an Ugandan national living in Kampala. This serves as a good example that access to the internet can bring along education, and you don’t have to live in Europe or Silicon Valley, or be European to be at the forefront of technological development.
    South Africa is currently on the fast track of falling “two steps behind” the rest of Africa and the rest of the world! We are already “one step behind” because we are still lavishing in our “self created cesspool of injustices of the past”
    South Africa needs to wake up and start taking note of what is happening technologically in the rest of Africa….

  21. Greedy and corrupt politicians have been and always will be around “feeding” of civilisations anywhere and everywhere first from the illiterate, and in more modern times from the uneducated.

  22. How can South Africa be far behind the rest of the continent where telecoms is concerned. The internet is part of the telecoms tool. South Africans are flooded with information, but the culture of being educated seems to be a choice by some individuals and not to the other individuals that do not have access to even basic education. In my opinion we spoiled when it comes to choice compared to the rest of some parts of the continent.

  23. That is where your opinion completely miss the point and we as a country have already missed the technological “train” If we hurry we may be able to catch the last wagon. We were a bit ahead when GSM was first rolled out in SA, but legislation favored the development of monopolies(Telkom) or in the case of GSM a duopoly(MTN & Vodacom). All they care about is money in the pockets of shareholders (government as government holds a huge stake in most of them)
    Why do you think that most educated people are fussing so much about issues like bandwidth that needs to be freed up, currently occupied by our almost “biblical” TV signaling system. We are now busy trying to update to an already technologically outdated system. Our ancient analogue TV signals are interfering with Lesotho’s already digital systems. Our lack of progress is keeping our direct neighbors back, as radio signals don’t respect graphical borders.
    So we are “not” spoiled for choice. Your choice is effectively limited to a monopoly or duopoly as far as internet connectivity is concerned.
    Education is a basic human right but also a personal choice and can not be demanded, bought, sold, stolen/faked or traded. The qualification needed to enrollment for education is only limited to “being literate” and today, “access to the Internet” .
    Government is withholding the most effective tool to education(Internet) from the masses in SA by failure to deregulate communications effectively, thereby withholding education which will undoubtedly unseat them from their position of power once it happened, by means of educated Pleb’s votes.
    We are not even the largest economy on the continent anymore, and soon we will be climbing the ladder backwards even further.
    The rest of Africa is not still debating the history of colonization, they have put it behind and are moving forward at speed. If you don’t believe me, go and see for yourself……
    More than 10 years ago, I have registered a business in Tanzania and the only requirement as a foreigner was to have a local partner(which I will not even dream about doing without), no race involved, and proof of some minimal investment. If I was born there and a citizen or married to a citizen I could do business like anybody else. In SA even existing businesses have to comply with race based BEE or affirmative action and new businesses will get nowhere if they don’t comply.
    Business needs a few things to thrive like, Innovation(assisted by internet), communication(Internet), access to educated people(internet), a business friendly regulatory environment, and physical infrastructure(Roads electricity water). We might still be on top of the ladder regarding the last as far as the rest of Africa is concerned.

  24. Next they will demand that Facebook and forums like this also be subjected to their archaic standards of publication when submitted by SA citizens…. or maybe to the rest of the world if you are able to just read it in SA??

  25. There’s nothing to admit I’m afraid – the governments are the problem with the continent, not the people. Not ONE TIME did I say anything race-based or against the people of our country – YOU brought that into it with your idiotic assumptions. How on earth would the public – or according to you only people of colour – be responsible for the money-grab attempt by the government department mentioned in the article? Could I really be as closed-minded and stupid as to blame black, coloured, Chinese or anyone else for the FPB’s actions? Seriously dude, read twice and think thrice before you make unfounded assumptions and waste everyone’s time with your jaded views.

  26. William Stucke on

    > How can South Africa be far behind the rest of the continent where telecoms is concerned

    REALLY easily. Other countries employ people to make policy who actually KNOW about the subject, instead of rewarding “struggle buddies” with ministerial posts. Example: Mozambique. The head of their regulator is an old friend of mine – because he’s been involved in the Internet industry from Day One. He’s the guy who set up the IXP at UEM. The Minister is a university friend of his, who also knows how to code. In our glorious Rainbow Nation we had Aunty Ivy, whose sole claim to fame was women’s rights and never listening to a dissenting view. For THREE terms. Almost all those we’ve had since then have been lightweights who didn’t know the first thing about telecommunications.

    In 2004 or so, we increased from 3 million to 4 million Internet users. In the same time, Nigeria went from zero to 10 million. In 1998 RSA had >50% of the Internet hosts, IP addresses and users on the entire continent. Ten years later, we were in fifth place.

    Why? One word. POLICY. Or the lack of it. As alluded to by others above, one example is High Demand Spectrum. Government has spent the last decade ACTIVELY obstructing ICASA in releasing it so it can actually be used. Why? Certainly not to benefit Joe Public.

  27. William Stucke on

    > The Middle East (Arabic) was first to be literate, and the center of civilization.
    Sorry to cavil, Ferdi, about your otherwise excellent comments. The Near East was first to be literate, but not Arabic. The first writing was Sumerian, in modern-day Iraq, around the 31st century BC. Arabic, on the other hand, only appeared in the 6th century AD. A very long time later! Meantime, we had Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Chinese and a bunch of others

  28. No offense taken. I am well aware of many over generalizations regarding many aspects of my comments, but that is for lack of terminology to condense the dynamics and history of especially the Middle and Near East and it’s history, dynamics, factions and conflicts which is as we all know and unfortunately ongoing until this very day. “Arabic” in a more ethnic sense just seemed to me like a better (and modern day understandable) term to try and capture what otherwise will need volumes to explain.
    I just hope your excellent, and other factually correct comments in general can timeously assist in waking this country up to the realization that we are no longer the “only shining light” in the otherwise “dark” continent of Africa(if we ever were) but on a fast track to another Zimbabwe.
    We are not unique in struggles against oppression (Dutch, British and Apartheid), not in Africa, nor the World and certainly not in the legacy of mineral wealth where gold, precious metals and diamonds were the measure of “wealth” and the foundations of currencies.

  29. William Stucke on

    > can timeously assist in waking this country up to the realization that we are no longer the “only shining light” in the otherwise “dark” continent of Africa(if we ever were)
    That has been my personal mission since 2001, when I first spoke to the ATU on the subject. In front of Ivy, in Accra. I might add that she got up and walked out before I answered the question “What do you mean by an independent regulator with teeth?”

  30. Green advocator on

    Any way that they can get extra money to pay for No 1 and his cronnies they will try. And the Country becomes a No-Go country for foreign investment.

  31. Yes, and pay for the “privilege” of them regulating it at the same time, because that is what it comes down to….

  32. You obviously have intimate knowledge on these matters. Maybe you should drum up some support with OUTA, or even the DA or anybody willing to support the cause, and try and take government to the Constitutional Court, to empower(Including appointments of capable people) ICASA to a similar extend as what happened with the office of the Public Protector, because government is effectively withholding a constitutional right from it’s citizens….

  33. Will you agree with me that the author of “4 laws SA app developers must know about” elsewhere on Techcentral should have included Acts and Regulations relating to FPB as well, especially when Apps are content driven or can be classified as games?

  34. William Stucke on

    IANAL, but I would suggest that very much depends on the nature of the App. If it’s a game, then the FPB already have their claws in that subject in terms of the 2006 amendment, and expect all games to be “classified” appropriately.
    In terms of content, dunno. Google Ads is smart enough to show age and subject appropriate ads, I believe, but if you want a better answer, I can point you at a lawyer or three.

  35. William Stucke on

    Hmm. The ‘Articles by comments (7 days)” sidebar claims 41 comments on this article in the last 7 days. The summary just above here says a total of 45 comments (in 10 days)
    A rough count of the actual comments in the last 7 days comes to around 14. What gives?

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