The Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS) has announced that the licensing of artistes is set to take off in May 2012.
“We have managed to register 70 percent of the artistes and licensing is starting in May,” Thato Mokobi, the Chief Executive Officer, revealed.
“I want to assure all artistes that if they are not registered, they will not receive any royalties,” said Mokobi. Registering of artiste follows the approval of the rules and regulations that govern the COSBOTS, which were approved by the Registrar of Companies last year in November.
He attributed the low turn out to the fact that most of the artistes do not have copyrightable work.
In the meantime, the society is busy registering and educating artists and users on the rules and regulations that govern the act so that all the concerned parties appreciate the process.
He lamented that, for long, artistes’ works have been used with no benefits accruing to the owners or their beneficiaries. Mokobi revealed that the next phase is of authentication of material, to determine the originators of every work. “We have put up authentication panels boasting of people who are experts in specific fields,” said Mokobi.
For those who have amended other people’s work, he noted that they have to provide an agreement with the original owner and the two will share the benefits. “Artistes, in order to claim royalties, will be expected to prove ownership of the materials,” he said.
Production houses that assist artists to construct the final piece will also have a share in the royalties. He said folklore songs that have been sung by the community from way back will be registered as community products, but if an artiste revises the work they will get a fraction of the royalties.
Mokobi explained that users who are required to pay royalties include radio and television stations, retailers and clubs. However, he admitted that monitoring the process is a mammoth task that will require more manpower.
Mokobi stated that they are working with their counterparts in different countries to collect royalties for Botswana artists and they will in turn do the same for them. He said the agreement will facilitate growth of the industry and will challenge artists to take their work seriously and improve on the quality of their products.
He encouraged artists to put a hologram on their work to help combat piracy in the country. The payment of royalties to artists is expected to commence before the end of the year.