Musicians push for royalties worth R80m

2011-04-18 13:17

A petition has been launched calling on Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies to amend the copyright legislation, The Performers Organisation of South Africa Trust (Posa) said today.

“We urge the minister to amend the copyright legislation to remove the legal loopholes and ensure that the country’s musicians finally receive income due to them from the public usage of their recordings,” Posa spokesperson Sibongile Khumalo said.

The amendment would allow about R80 million in unpaid needletime royalties to be paid out to South African recording artists and record companies.

Needletime royalties were due to musicians or recording artists and record companies whose music was broadcast, or performed in public.

Khumalo said: “More than R80 million in needletime royalties has been collected to date by Sampra [SA Music Performance Rights Association ] and recording artists’ share, after the 50% share is paid to record companies and Sampra deducts its administrative expenses, would come to not less than R35 million.”

Although the Copyright Act and Performers Protection Act were amended in 2002, and the Regulations on the Establishment of Collecting Societies in the Music Industry came into effect in 2006, no needletime royalties had been paid out.

She said this was because of the impasse between Sampra and Posa and the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro).

Sampra was meant to administer the 50% portion of needletime royalties due to record companies to Posa who was accredited to administer it to its members who performed.

“Sampra interprets the law as saying that they have to pay over the recording artists’ share of royalties to record companies, and not to Posa,” Khumalo said.

“Sampra insists that record companies can decide on a different split and they also have the right to deduct whatever expenses, including advances paid to recording artists, from the artists’ share of the needletime rights royalties.”

She said Posa and Cipro did not agree with this, arguing that Sampra should only distribute the 50% share to record companies and those companies had no right to deduct anything, including advances, from recording artists’ share of the royalties.

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