Oppikoppi promoters haul Samro to court over fees

2013-06-09 08:37

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Despite announcing a new headline act this week – the US’s Grammy Award-winning Deftones – this year’s Oppikoppi music festival will take place under a cloud. Its organisers have taken the SA Music Rights Organisation (Samro) to court.

Hilltopville Promotions, which produces the Limpopo festival, hauled Samro to the South Gauteng High Court last month for allegedly charging them exorbitant festival royalty tariffs.

The promoters also want the court to rescind the judgment Samro obtained against them for refusing to pay the hiked fees.

“Essentially, what happened was that Samro single-handedly changed the principles of how they apply the royalty agreement the festival has with them,” said Hilltopville marketing manager Carel Hoffman, adding that Samro changed the way it structured tariffs and Oppikoppi refused to pay more.

Samro, said Hoffman, allowed other music promoters and TV producers to pay 2% royalties but wanted them to pay up to 8% of their gate-takings.

But Samro’s Tiyani Maluleke said the festival was large enough to charge an increased rate.

He denied claims that Samro were a law unto itself. “Please note that notwithstanding the fact that the parties involved signed a contract with Samro, Samro is entitled to amend the pricing of its intellectual property.”

But Hoffman alleges Samro claimed royalties for artists not registered with them. “We had 159 entertainers at the last event, many of whom were actors, poets and young artists unregistered with anyone.”

Hoffman said Samro then obtained judgment against them without telling them they were taking them to court.

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