BTV owns exclusive rights to its broadcasts of Parliament – Morwaeng

Minister says Btv is empowered by the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act to assert ownership of its broadcasts of parliamentary proceedings


The Copyrights and Neighbouring Rights Act grants Btv exclusive rights to its broadcasts in terms of Section 27 of the Act, the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng, told Parliament this week.

“A broadcasting organisation shall have exclusive rights to carry out or authorise any of the following acts: the re-broadcasting of its broadcasts, the communication to the public of its broadcast, the fixation of its broadcast or the reproduction of a fixation of its broadcast. While Section 18 of the Act provides for limitation and exceptions to the rights of the broadcaster, the extent of performance of this Act determines the applicability of such limitations and exceptions.”

Minister Morwaeng was answering a question from the MP for Maun West, Dumelang Saleshando, who had sought clarity on the full terms and conditions under which Botswana Television broadcasts proceedings of the National Assembly. Saleshando, who is also the Leader of the Opposition, had also asked minister to state the provisions of the copyright law or any other law that provides for Btv to exclusively broadcast proceedings of the National Assembly.

The minister said there is no specific agreement between the National Assembly and the Department of Broadcasting Services but only an understanding between the two that the broadcasting of parliamentary proceedings by Btv will be a temporary arrangement until the National Assembly is ready to take over the work.

“Btv does not own copyrights over proceedings of the National Assembly, which is content. Rather, it owns exclusive rights to broadcasting the proceedings in accordance to Section 6 (1) of the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Acts,” Morwaeng said. “Ownership of these rights is automatic upon creation of the broadcast and does not require any formalities.”

According to Minister Morwaeng, the arrangement followed adoption of a motion by Parliament on 12 July 2013 for the House to request government to allow Btv to broadcast live updates of Parliament.

Asked how Btv is then able to copyright proceedings of the National Assembly, Morwaeng said Section 5 of the copyright law bestows ownership of the broadcasts to Btv as a state owned broadcaster.