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New media play a pivotal role in the dissemination of information in this ‘global village’, where the speed of exchange of goods and knowledge has increased and transcends geographical borders. The impact of the Internet on the protection of artists’ copyrights and consumers’ fair use rights can be defined by two opposing theories: the ‘value commons’ theory, which advocates for policy enforcement, Digital Rights Management (DRM) and a universal pay-per-view, pay-per-use and pay-per-listen system; and the ‘creative commons’, or the ‘information commons’ theory, which advocates for the Internet to be a platform for promotion and knowledge sharing. International authorities, national government, artists and consumers are all responsible for ensuring the protection of artist and consumer rights. In South Africa, ineffective policy and implementation systems, national and industry politics, limited finances and underdeveloped technology all negatively impact the development of online policy. This work reviews online problems such as piracy, pricing and rights protection and attempts to define new models, systems and policies to protect artist copyrights and consumer fair use rights.