Johannesburg-Tuesday, 20 July 2021-The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has noted with concern the scathing allegations levelled against the Corporation by SAMPRA and some music artists through public statements.
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 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.
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.
It is imperative to note that the SABC cannot pay needletime royalties to any Collecting Society whilst a dispute on the percentage split between the two Collecting Societies remains unresolved. Further, the resolution of the percentage split is dependent on the two Collecting Societies and not on the SABC. The SABC met with the two Collecting Societies on the 08th of May 2020 to discuss ways in which all parties can resolve the long-standing dispute on the allocation of needletime royalties and key on the agenda was to find a solution to urgently address the challenges faced by artists during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whilst the dispute on the allocation of needletime royalties was not resolved on the day of this meeting, all parties agreed to embark on an arbitration process to resolve the legal dispute on the allocation of needletime royalties. Most importantly, in order to help bring relief to the beneficiaries of needletime royalties, and as part of the SABC’s commitment to the payment of needletime royalties, the SABC has already made an advance payment of R20 million to both Collecting Societies.
It must be noted that according to the Registrar of Copyright at the Companies Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) at the DTI, the SABC does not pay the Artists and the Owner of the song (Record Company and Performers) directly for needletime royalties. It pays the Artist and the Owner of the song via the Collecting Societies. The Artists are at liberty to approach the Collecting societies.
The SABC has also learnt through the media that SAMPRA is intending to approach the Court. As a matter of principle, the SABC does not litigate through the media; therefore, we will deal with the matter once we are served with the relevant papers.
The Corporation SABC will continue to work with the Collecting Societies and other relevant stakeholders for the growth and development of the South African music industry.
Issued By:                           Group Communications
Media Enquiries:                 Ms. Gugu Ntuli (Group Executive: Corporate Affairs and Marketing)|T. 011 714 3311|C. 071 877 0513