The new Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS) has initiated its services by requesting all radio channels in the country to register with the organization for artistes’ royalties, for both radio play and acquisition of tracks or albums.
Information from Thato Mokobi, the COSBOTS CEO, is to the essence that so far a dual of radio stations has honored the move but is upbeat that the rest of the frequencies will follow suit.
The organization’s mandate is to oversee the rewarding of talents that have either created content or are performing an existing piece which goes to them on a third-party mandate.
COSBOTS will be registering new copyright material from artistes before it hits the airwaves via a trio-pronged procedure. Initially, the talents have to give the organization copies of their original or third-party works, with the next stage entailing the party of panelists reviewing the copies to determine originality. Finally, the copyright will be going directly to the originator.
Radio stations on the other hand have to allocate royalties to the artistes according to the radio play that the work receives. The allocation of revenue will depend on the kind of permit that the broadcasting channel has in its programming, as well as, its revenue base, which ought to reflect how much it can churn out for the particular artiste’s commission. The example that the copyright body provides is that a station with 70% share of music play vis-à-vis 30% talk show segment, will pay more than one in which the two broadcasting segments feature on a half-half basis. Furthermore, the organization will also be prying into the station’s revenue base, to present it with a royalty fee that represents the kind of financial muscle that it has.
Botswana has a quadruple of radio stations that features local and international content, including music. The government controls two of these, including Radio Botswana 1 and 2, with the former being public-funded, while the other attracts revenue from commercials. The independent broadcasters in the country include Gabz FM and Tarona Fm, all of which air their services from the capital, Gaborone.
The radio dispensation in Botswana is a relatively new phenomenon, for a check at the government stations shows that they launched the services in 2000, starting with non-commercial content.
Despite the youth of its FM radio niche, Botswana enjoys a thriving communications sector because of the technological access and nearness to a media epicenter that is South Africa, its southern neighbor.
Like all other countries on the globe that perpetuate the culture of fair radio play, Botswana, particularly via COSBOTS, realizes the importance of fighting piracy over the airwaves by giving the artiste a fair deal. This is why the state had to establish the copyright body to ensure that radio play does not eclipse the artistic merit, on a financial scale.
As a reflection of how important this issue has become, the copyright authority has also began netting disk jockeys, who the officials say are already cooperating by undergoing registration.