SAMPRA takes on SABC over unpaid royalties

Newzroom Afrika News Anchor and Journalist, Ayanda Nyathi, chat with music producer and businessman, DJ Ganyani on AM Report about unpaid royalties from the SABC

Newzroom Afrika News Anchor and Journalist, Ayanda Nyathi, chat with music producer and businessman, DJ Ganyani on AM Report about unpaid royalties from the SABC

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Power FM host, Sebenzile Nkambule on Power Perspective with Legendary musicians, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, and SAMPRA CEO, Pfanani Lishivha talk about what is Needletime Rights and ongoing challenges with the public broadcaster over unpaid royalties and impact on South African artists

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NEWS LEADER: SAMPRA takes SABC to court

Business Day TV News Anchor speaks to SAMPRA CEO, Pfanani Lishivha, about non-payment of royalties from the public broadcaster

SAMPRA takes SABC to court over royal ties

Presenter, Bongani Bingwa speaks to record producer, DJ Tira, about why SAMPRA is taking the public broadcaster to court over unpaid royalties

702 Presenter, Bongani Bingwa speaks to record producer, DJ Tira, about why SAMPRA is taking the public broadcaster to court over unpaid royalties

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Power FM host, Lukhona Mguni on Power Talk in conversation with SAMPRA CEO, Pfanani Lishivha, about the performance of the organisation and unpaid Needletime royalties from the public broadcaster

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SAMPRA’s Impending Legal Tug Of War With The SABC Over Unsettled Artist Royalties

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Artists may end up being the hardest hit casualties in an impending legal tug of war  between the South African Music Performance Rights Association (SAMPRA) – which is a collective management organisation that administers Needletime Rights on behalf of recording artists and record labels, and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) after the former organisation announced that it will take legal action against the latter organisation over unpaid needletime royalties.

Once songs have been created by artists, they contain within them a composite of varying rights. One of these rights is a right known as Needletime Rights. As per SAMPRA’s website, Needletime Rights is a right given to a music user (in this case being the SABC) to perform a commercially released sound recording (a track), in public, in return for a fee (known as royalties), which is paid to record labels and/or the recording artists themselves.

In a statement released on Monday, 19 July 2021, aptly titled “TAKING FOOD OUT OF ARTISTS’ MOUTHS”, SAMPRA revealed that the SABC has so far failed to pay numerous artists’ royalties emanating from their Needletime Rights, a deficit amounting to R250 million over a retrospective period of five years.  SAMPRA believes that this situation is exacerbated by the current COVID-19 pandemic period which has been crippling artists in their ability to earn a living through music performance.

SAMPRA resolved that should the SABC not redress the status quo, it would result in an interdict that would prohibit the public broadcaster from playing music from artists represented by SAMPRA, who make up the organisation’s repertoire – which constitutes a staggering 99% of South African musical compositions Some of the artists whose music will be removed from the playlist of the SABC radio stations should the dispute fail to be redressed include Donald, Nasty C, Black Coffee, Master KG, Dj Maphorisa and Dj Ganyani, among others.

In an attempt to set the record, the SABC has duly responded to SAMPRA’s allegations in a statement of their own. The public broadcaster clarifies that the current delay in the payment of needletime royalties to artists is owed to SAMPRA’s on-going ‘non-agreement’ with another artists royalty Collecting Society called IMPRA (Independent Music Performance Rights Association).

“The SABC has a legal obligation to pay a predetermined percentage of needletime royalties to registered and accredited Collecting Societies. Currently, there are two known registered and accredited Collecting Societies namely, IMPRA and SAMPRA. The SABC has set aside an amount due for payment of needletime royalties and has always been ready to pay the amount to the relevant Collecting Societies. Both IMPRA and SAMPRA are aware of this. However, the SABC has not paid needletime royalties to either Collecting Society as the two Collecting Societies have not agreed on the percentage split of the determined amount.” asserts the SABC in their statement.

While the SABC acknowledges that it is yet  to pay the artists needletime royalties as alleged by SAMPRA, it maintains that this is not due to their incompetence or negligence. It is rather due to SAMPRA and IMPRA not agreeing on a predetermined split that they will receive in order to pay out the artists. Nonetheless, the SABC says they are ready for whatever legal action that will be instituted against the corporation.

See the SABC’s full statement here.

All in all, SAMPRA (and IMPRA) are the middlemen between the SABC and the artists and if all that has been said is true, all entities need to reach a timely and amicable resolution because the longer it  takes, the more the artists suffer.

theplugmag.com

Sampra and SABC to go to court over non payment of royalties

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Johannesburg – The South African Music Performance Rights Association (Sampra) has written letters to all its artists and record companies explaining its decision to take the SABC to court in a move that could see their music being taken off the public broadcaster’s playlist.

The letter, which was sent to its members on Monday, follows our story that the SABC could face a near-total music black-out if Sampra gets a court order to remove songs belonging to over 38 000 artists and 5000 record companies it represents after an impasse over needle time royalties.

Sampra, a collective management organisation (CMO) has accused the SABC of refusing to pay it over R250 million needle time royalties which it was supposed to distribute to artists who are now struggling to make ends after lockdown restrictions prohibit them from plying their trade.

In the letter, which we have seen, Sampra spokesperson Tiyani Maluleke explains in detail why the organisation decided to go the legal route.

This apparently after many artists and record companies it represents asked it to take them into its confidence and also promised to throw their full weight behind the organisation.

“We have previously indicated to you how we, as SAMPRA, have found ourselves in this position. The SABC has never ever taken a licence with SAMPRA. We have engaged them for years but they have consistently refused to take up a licence.

In 2018, the SABC paid 75% of the amount due to Needletime Rights, for the 2014/15 financial year, to IMPRA without just cause. Before this payment was made, we had engaged them and even presented evidence to them that showed that we owned approximately 99% of the music that they use on their radio stations,” reads the letter.

Maluleke also said despite presenting the evidence to the SABC, it still went ahead and paid royalties to a rival collecting society, IMPRA.

Maluleke also rubbished SABC’s claims that it was unable remit payment of royalties because both organisations could not agree on royalties split.

“Their allegation that the failure on their to part to pay for Needletime Rights is due to the fact that we, as SAMPRA, have not agreed on a share split with IMPRA is pure deception. As indicated in our communication to you of 16 July 2021, we presented our data to the SABC which shows that we own approximately 99% of the music used in their radio stations.

There is nothing that we as SAMPRA need to agree to with IMPRA because IMPRA is not using our members’ music, the SABC is. The SABC is purposefully misleading the public, as well as the music industry with this irresponsible statement. We have, on numerous occasions, indicated to the SABC that the issue of having competing CMOs is not unique to South Africa. Italy has four needletime CMOs; Canada has three, France has two; and Ukraine has nineteen. But this has never posed a problem to any radio broadcaster in these territories because broadcasters know that payment is made in terms of repertoire representation. Why is this a problem for the SABC?,” reads the letter.

Maluleke further said she was disappointed that it was only the SABC that had qualms with paying them.

Commercial radio stations and other non-broadcasting services, she added, have been paying them without any qualms because they understand the provisions of the Copyright Act and the Performers’ Protection Act.

“Why is it that the SABC is the only music user that has a problem with the law?
Commercial broadcasters also respect the music industry. The same cannot be said about the SABC, the public broadcaster that is funded by taxpayers’ monies.

It was agreed, at the time, that the SABC would pay SAMPRA that amount while our licensing negotiations continue to take place.

At that time, we had agreed on an arbitration process, which in our view would have given us a resolution to this matter quicker and cost-effectively.

As we were preparing for this process, IMPRA refused to sign the arbitration papers.

The SABC then refused to proceed to arbitration without IMPRA, even though the dispute is between SAMPRA and the SABC. The SABC still owes SAMPRA more than R250 million,” reads the letter.

The SABC said in a statement issued on Tuesday, said it noted with concern the scathing allegations levelled against the Corporation by SAMPRA and some music artists through public statements.

“The SABC has set aside an amount due for payment of needletime royalties and has always been ready to pay the amount to the relevant Collecting Societies. Both IMPRA and SAMPRA are aware of this. However, the SABC has not paid needletime royalties to either Collecting Society as the two Collecting Societies have not agreed on the percentage split of the determined amount. The Corporation views this matter in a serious light and would like to clarify the gross misinformation which is being fueled by SAMPRA. The SABC has a legal obligation to pay a predetermined percentage of needeltime royalties to registered and accredited Collecting Societies. Currently, there are two known registered and accredited Collecting Societies namely, IMPRA and SAMPRA,” the broadcaster said in a statement.

The SABC further stated, “To facilitate the resolution of the dispute between the two Collecting Societies, the SABC had proposed that the matter be referred to Arbitration for speedy resolution. Regrettably, notwithstanding the in-principle agreement to refer the matter to an arbitration process, the two Collecting Societies could not agree to the scoping of the dispute. Thus, the Arbitration could not be pursued.”

sundayworld.co.za