SAMRO signs historic agreement


In a significant development for the domestic music industry, the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) has entered into an historic agreement with the UK-based Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS).

The just-concluded licensing agreement is for the administration of reproduction rights – commonly referred to as ‘mechanical rights’- in musical works in South Africa. It allows SAMRO to issue licences to music users in South Africa for the reproduction of musical works in the repertoire of MCPS, which forms part of an alliance with the UK’s PRS
(Performing Rights Society).

SAMRO has been administering performing rights in musical works for public performance, broadcast and diffusion services for over 40 years, and this is the first agreement it has signed with a rights organisation in the UK for mechanical rights. This is a new area of activity for SAMRO and follows on from the organisation’s stated intent mid-2006 to enter the mechanical rights administrative terrain.

Leon van Wyk, who heads the International Affairs division at SAMRO, said the organisation was “delighted” at the inking of the agreement. “We are delighted to have signed this agreement with the MCPS on behalf of our composer-songwriter-publisher members in this developed market.

“This augurs well for us, in view of the problems encountered historically both by our members and our affiliates in receiving their just dues from the exploitation of their musical works in the field of mechanical rights. The conclusion of this agreement provides a basis that gives SAMRO members peace of mind. We treasure our cordial business relationship with our counterparts and look forward to maintaining an excellent working relationship with MCPS in the future.”

Karen Buse, Executive Director of International Affairs at the MCPS-PRS Alliance was equally as upbeat. “MCPS is pleased to enter into this arrangement with SAMRO and we are confident this will herald a new era in mechanical rights licensing in South Africa.

The MCPS-PRS Alliance has had a very productive relationship with SAMRO over many years and we look forward to working with them on mechanical rights issues. The MCPS repertoire is often represented in foreign
territories by sub-publishers but there are still important works which will flow through this agreement.”

This is the 25th mechanical rights reciprocal agreement which SAMRO has concluded since declaring its intention in mid-2006 to administer mechanical reproduction rights.

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