COSBOTS and BOMU smoke peace pipe

  • COSBOTS says some users do not pay for use of copyrighted works
  • Meeting recognises COVID restrictions that cut across industry as the bane of both bodies


After the Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) accused the Collections Society of Botswana (COSBOTS) of robbing its members of their hard-earned royalties and then turning down requests for a meeting for nearly 12 months, the two organisations finally met last week, Time Out has established.

Attended by leaders of both organisations, the meeting tackled industry concerns in order to enable smooth relations among stakeholders. “We are always open to justifiable criticism from stakeholders and it helps in improving our offering to the creative industry,” COSBOTS spokesperson, Seeletso Lekgaba, said in an interview.

“In brief, the main issues that were discussed were topics that BOMU and COSBOTS share a common interest in and mapping out modalities of how we could work together for the betterment of the industry. The process of distribution of royalties and ways of growing the industry were some of the subjects we discussed.”

The meeting noted that since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, some industries that COSBOTS directly works with have experienced challenges that directly affected operations of the royalty collections society. The slump in the hospitality sector, which is as a key consumer of creative works, was identified a one such setback.

The meeting recognised that restaurants, bars and nightclubs, as other notable users of creative works, have also been struggling under restrictions on numbers of patrons and bans on alcohol. Said Lekgaba: “Cancellation and postponement of many live events has been the worst restriction on users of music. Those are some of the challenges we are facing.”

Asked how they plan to solve the identified challenges faced by the creative industry, Lekgaba hardly had an answer except to say that they remain a major concern. She disclosed that COSBOTS still struggles with essential users who fail to comply with legal requirements to pay for use of copyrighted works.

“But we plan on engaging all stakeholders involved. especially the government as the biggest user of copyrighted protected works,” she said. We need to inform artists of these challenges and to educate them on the brass tacks of the distribution process.”