Reprographic Rights Management launched

  • Reprographic Rights to rake in about P50m when fully Implemented
  • About 5 000 active creatives outside music will benefit


In a historic turn of events, the country’s only royalty collections society, the Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS), last week launched Reprographic Rights tariffs as another layer of protection of copyright in Botswana.

COSBOTS has been administering rights in musical works and sound recordings for the past 10 years and has now also been tasked with monitoring use of print and digital works in educational institutions, libraries, print centres, public and private agencies and government departments.

“I am reliably informed that an estimated P50 million stands to be collected annually from various government and private institutions once the Reprographic Rights Management is fully implemented,” said the Assistant Minister of Trade and Industry, Beauty Manake, at the launch.

“This will benefit about 5 000 active creatives outside music,” she said. “I wish to encourage your members, particularly the youth, to be innovative and commercialise their works. Furthermore, those who stand to benefit should endeavour to invest in themselves to better their lives.”


Reprography untangled

Reprography is essentially making a copy by mechanical or electronic means of an existing text or image. It includes printing, scanning, photocopying and digital transmission. Implementation of repro rights means that other sectors of non-musical works such as writers, scriptwriters, publishers and visual artists will also benefit from royalties from the reproduction of their works.

Said Minister Manake: “Our mindset has to change of how we view artistic expression. It is more than a ‘hustle’ but a business that is critical to our socio-economic diversification drive. It is someone’s passion, talent and way of living. Therefore, we need to ensure that our artists are adequately remunerated, hence this Act.”


Following in the footsteps of Zambia

Zambian lawyer and CEO of Zambia Reprographic Rights Society (ZARRSO), Ruth Simujayangombe, has confirmed that they had been consulting with COSBOTS because Zambia is ahead of Botswana in Reprographic Reproduction Rights. She told Time Out that from the perspective of rights holders, Reprographic Rights are considered ‘secondary rights’ in contrast to a rights holder’s primary right to licence the original publication of the graphic image or text.

“What both countries have done is strike a balance between the users and the creators,” Simujayangombe said. “In Zambia we have been collecting and the largest user of copyrighted material is the education sector. We had a distribution this year and have on record that many rights holders who benefited from it are more comfortable and willing to create more because they are remunerated”.

“I am very hopeful because when I look at Botswana’s legislation, it is two times greater than Zambia’s in terms of how it has been articulated in areas dealing with exceptions and limitations that sometimes would be impeding the successful implementation of management of copyrights and reprography.”