Only P1.5 Million paid out in January
Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS) Communications Manager Seeletso Lekgaba says the society is still struggling to ensure that users of copyrighted material comply with provisions of the country’s copyright act. Lekgaba says this is due to a myriad of challenges including delays in license renewal and persistent complaints over high tariffs, despite a recent 30% reduction.
“Other reasons are that there are just too many levies from the government. For example, Hatab members cite tourism levies as already burdensome, and many say that prevailing economic situation has excaserbated the situation,” she told Time Out.
In a bid to sensitize users about Copyright and its benefits, last week COSBOTS hosted its first stakeholder consultative workshop which explored ways of partnering with local authorities in a bid to mandate license users. The proposed partnership between COSBOTS, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development seeks to empower the local authority as the one stop shop for copyright service provision.
“As local authorities we are servicing the same clients, so how can we merge our mandates because at the end of the day the biggest loser is the artists. For example, it could be a requirement that copyright compliance be a criterion for trade license applications and renewal. Bars should not be licensed if they don’t have copyrights,” Ofitlhile Busang from the Ministry of Trade said.
COSBOTS is yet to meet with stakeholders from other regions around the country and the final conclusion will be drawn after the meetings. “The southern region has however agreed that adding COSBOTS on the checklist for trade license application will be good for convenient service delivery to our clients,” Lekgaba said.
Furthermore, the royalty collection society aims to have two distributions in a year and Lekgaba dismissed allegations that there will be no disbursements this year. She said their last distribution amount of P 1 513 207. 31 was made in January to cover a 6 months period.
“The exact dates for our next distribution have not yet been set. In most cases we delay royalty payments because users take long to effect their payments, but we promise to ensure artists derive maximum benefits wherever their works are used,” she explained.