SABC in dispute over R28m in music royalties


Two weeks ago more than 1500 members of the Recording Industry of South Africa, including the four major recording labels – Sony BMG, Warner Music Gallo Africa, EMI and Universal Music – lodged a high court action in a bid to get the SABC to pay more than R28m in music video royalties.
The Times said in a report yesterday that it is in possession of a letter issued by Risa’s operations director, David du Plessis, to its members that outlines the court action between the two parties.
Further to their demands for compensation, Risa has also applied for the SABC to be interdicted from flighting music videos on all three of its channels until payment is resolved.

According to Risa, the SABC has employed delaying payment tactics. The broadcaster previously made payments on a quarterly basis but this has not happened since 2005, according to Du Plessis’s letter.
The SABC possesses more than 12 000 digitised music videos provided to it by Risa over the past four years.
According to The Times report, the SABC is defending the claim on the basis that none of the Risa members was the legal owner of the rights to videos; that it was not party to agreements with Risa; and that its chief financial officer and director of content enterprises had not had the necessary authority to enter into any form of extension agreement with Risa.


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