This is war, Hotstix declares
MUSICIAN Sipho Hotstix Mabuse has described the wrestle for the royalties owed to local artists as a war.
In a war situation, people will get called up… If you’re willing to lay down your life, then raise your hand’, and so I raised mine,” he said.
Mabuse said the words during what was described as a heated meeting at the Music Exchange Conference held at Cape Town’s City Hall last weekend.
The issue is around unpaid needletime” royalties of more than R180-million.
My task is going to be a difficult one, but I’ll do my best,” said the award-winning Mabuse.
During an interview at his home in Pimville, Soweto, this week, Mabuse said the needletime” topic was part of the agenda again at the music conference last week.
He said it had always been a sore point in the South African music industry.
Pfanani Lishivha, executive general manager of the Performers Organisation of South Africa (Posa) trust, explained that the money that had been collected from needletime royalties was sitting in the account of the South African Music Performance Rights Association (Sampra) and had not been distributed.
Lishivha said Sampra wanted to be the sole collector and distributor of royalties to record companies.
They want to take everything to the record companies, and that it should be up to them [the record companies] to decide who gets
what, he said.
Lishivha and Mabuse agreed that Sampra s approach was flawed.
They want to be the only ones to determine the rules of engagement,” said Mabuse.
Lishivha said the royalties had come into effect in 2006, but had only been collected since 2008.
Needletime royalties came about in 2002, when the copyright and performers protection acts were amended.
This came after a recommendation by a music industry task
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team, put in place by Ben Ngubane, then minister of arts, culture, science and technology, to try to sort out some of the industry’s troubles.
And from this, the needletime royalties came about.
This allowed musicians, recording artists and record companies to be paid when their recorded music is broadcast, used or performed in public.
Lishivha said the legislation had allowed for anyone to administer on behalf of record companies, or performers only or both”.
He said the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (Samro) then established the Posa trust to represent the artists, while the Recording Industry of South Africa established Sampra to represent the recording labels.
Lishivha said the money collected in royalties would be split 50% each way.
Sampra chief executive David du Plessis confirmed that money had been collected, but blamed Samro for the distribution problems.
The money hasn’t been distributed because Samro has opposed our distribution plan,” said Du Plessis.
He said their distribution plan was in line with the Copyright Act and the collecting society regulations, which stipulate that the royalties should be distributed to the record companies.
We can’t go against what the act says, doing something that is contrary to the agreement.”
He supports Mabuse’s fight, but said the musician was pointing fingers at the wrong people. I agree they must fight, but they’re directing their anger at the wrong party.”
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