South Africa: Broadcasters (Needle) Time To Pay Has Come

October 2012

Record labels, performers, broadcasting



“Life can be terribly complex. Take music copyright for example. A composer writes a song and the song enjoys protection under the Copyright Act as a ‘musical work‘, with the songwriter owning that copyright. A performer (who could also be the song writer) then goes to a recording studio and makes a recording of that song. The recording enjoys separate protection as a ‘sound recording‘, with that copyright belonging to the record company.   So two different copyrights – copyright in the musical work which belongs to the composer, and copyright in the sound recording which belongs to the record company.  And, on top of that, the performer who performed the song when it was recorded enjoys a so-called ‘performer’s right‘, something that was created by a piece of legislation called the Performers’ Protection Act.”

This useful and practical article by Rachel Sikwane explains how the Copyright Act applies in South Africa and how the Copyright Tribunal has assessed how a ‘needletime’ royalty formula will apply: Broadcasters will pay royalties on 7% of their net income, and the amount will be calculated with reference to the amount of music played by the station and the overall amount of editorial content broadcasted. More here

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