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Duma FM ordered to pay Cosbots

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• Radio station ordered to pay P 620 000, 10% interest of their annual revenue
• Largest amount owed to Cosbots is from the Department of Broadcasting Services

GOSEGO MOTSUMI

High Court judge Leatile Dambe recently granted a final judgement against Duma FM and ordered the radio station to pay owed artists’ royalties to Cosbots (The Copyright Society of Botswana) . The Radio station was ordered to pay the royalties collecting society an amount of P620 000 which is 10% of the station’s annual revenue and the cost of suit.
This judgement came after Cosbots announced at a recent press conference in Gaborone that Duma FM and the biggest user Department of Broadcasting Services (DBS)  were not paying royalties, which resulted in a significantly smaller royalty payout to artists in December. Previously,  Cosbots and several broadcasters have had disagreements on the payment of royalties for the broadcast of musical works and sound recordings in Botswana resulting in the mentioned court case. Currently the largest outstanding collections are owed by the Government’s Department of Broadcasting Services (DBS).
“DBS has not paid and efforts to engage them are not bearing fruits. We are failing to make the Government  comply and our members are obviously disappointed but we are not giving up,” Cosbots previously said , further adding that, “Another broadcaster  that is failing to comply is Duma FM and we have taken the radio station to court.”
Cosbots has also revealed that many users still challenge the collecting society’s legal authority to collect and distribute royalties to appropriate owners of copyright protected works and the judgement served as a precedent that reinforces the rules to be adopted and used by courts in deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts. The collecting society says it will continue to take robust action in creating a sustainable creative industry by ensuring that its members derive maximum benefit whenever their works are used by business entities.
Although reasons are not clear why Duma FM was not paying royalties, a group of disgruntled artists previously issued a press statement where they alleged that users were non-compliant because there is no transparency in the manner in which the board and CEO conduct the affairs of the company.

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