I need you to pay deep attention to this here post, especially if you're an artist yourself or are managing any either through PR, publishing or any other way. Parliament is looking to amend the Copyright Act in some sections that might potentially scar the livelihood of content creators in the music and writing industries. The amount of red flags on this bill are frightening (to me at least) and I suggest you read up on the amendments for full detail on how that will affect you. Courtesy of a mail SAMRO (South African Music Rights Organisation) has sent out to its members, we have denoted 5 key issues in this bill that will create problems for artists.
1. Users of copyrighted material will enjoy equal privilege to content creators
In other words, an artist is the same as a broadcaster (radio, TV and more) when coming to the use of material. This means that whoever uses your song has the potential to earn an income and/or royalties from it. YUP! I play the Supa Mega somewhere out there and me I eat from playing him without his knowledge nor credit!
2. Commissioned content creators will lose their stake in copyrighted content
In other words, if you're the unseen or silent contributor to a song out there, forget about your performance or mechanical rights collected by SAMRO and CAPASSO (Composers, Authors and Publishers Association). Songwriters and composers (a.k.a PRODUCERS) you are in trouble here. Basically, not only can any broadcaster stand to earn income on your work, but you completely fall out of the equation from the material you created.
3. There are blurred lines of where copyrighted material can be used without compensation
If you know your things you know that every platform (literally EVERYWHERE) where music is played requires a license to play that music. If not a license, permission to do so by the owners of the content. This is where SAMRO and CAPASSO have your back. The amended bill seemingly insists on widening spaces where your music can be played not only without your compensation, but without your permission nor notification. Basically, I can take your song and make a living with it in China and you'd never know. With the standing Copyright Act, you know of the places where your material is being used for free.
4. The "fair use" concept in the bill is foreign and costly
The idea that your music can be used freely and only the court of law can determine whether that usage is fair or not is problematic. I say this because, how many rappers right now can afford lengthy legal cases fighting for their copyright when they're just trying to get themselves some bookings to make the money they spent on building their bedroom studios back? Also, the court systems in South Africa don't work as quickly as those in America from which this "fair use" concept is adopted from. In America, "I'll sue you" is a real threat whereas in Mzantsi we (mostly) just curse you about your mother and we leave it at that.
5. What about long term income from those royalty cheques?
We always complain about our legendary artists dying broke and their families remaining in suffering after their father - or whoever it may be - has supposedly contributed so much to changing the music landscape. Royalties are a constant and long term income for a lot of artists, take that away from them and what is left for them to survive on in the months where they don't have bookings or a brand deal to work with? If anyone out here can just play my music and earn an income from my hard work, what is the point of it all? Essentially, artists must stop creating altogether to avoid such exploitation as will be imposed by this bill - and we all know that that can't be life.
With some of the amendments to the Copyright Act, creatives as a whole are being compromised because it not only makes it okay for people to abuse your original work, but it makes it lawful to do so.
For more information on what the Copyright Alliance - made up of SAMRO, CAPASSO, DALRO (Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation); RiSA (Recording Industry of South Africa), SAMPRA (South African Music Performance
Rights Association), MASA (Musicians Association of South Africa) and MPA SA (Music Publishers Association of South Africa) - is doing about this please contact Wiseman Ngubo on firstname.lastname@example.org