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Trouble brews as arts practitioners summon COSBOTS

Traditional Music Icon Maxy with her dancers

Some concerned Arts Practitioners have in a letter dated 20th November 2015 requested Registrar General of the Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA), Conductor Masena to urgently meet with them and address their grievances with regards to the Copyright Act as well as concerns of malpractice at Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS). Masena is also overseer at COSBOTS.

The concerned party has since met with a top South African Advocate who has a vast experience working with issues of copyright. The trouble started when COSBOTS wanted to sue some of the music promoters who staged public shows and failed their public licence performance to COSBOTS saying the charge is too high. They also revealed that since Parliament dissolved Registrar Of Companies to form the now Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) some of the clauses come in with short comings and the laws are drastic and excessive.

The arts practitioners include among them artists who are COSBOTS members, Music Promoters, Producers, Actors, Film Producers and Record Label owners. Among other things they want discussed at the meeting are; the position CIPA holds in the COSBOTS board, the state of music piracy in Botswana and the rate or license fees charged to retailers who sell music as well as shortcomings of the copyright Act 10 years on.  

“We also request all documentation regarding structuring, research, public input that advised COSBOTS and CIPA of the tariffs charged to retailers be made in printed form,” the letter states.

Furthermore, the letter states that the “Concerned Arts practitioners”  want to be furnished with proof that COSBOTS is a member of International Confederation of Authors and Composers Societies (CISAC) and has a reciprocal agreement to represent international right holders and as well proof that they have all the rights as per international practice and the Botswana copyright act.
 
The aggrieved party also seeks COSBOTS to clarify tariffs set across for public performances or events by COSBOTS and CIPA without consulting the music industry. “We would like to be furnished with documentation that guided CIPA and COSBOTS to arrive at the current tariffs and this should not be limited to economic research on the music industry, public input and interview with practitioners” says the letter. In the same letter, the concerned party wants the Copyright Act reviewed.  

“We shall be bringing a ten man delegation which comprises of musicians who are COSBOTS members, promoters, music producers, actors, film producers and record label owners,” the letter which WeekendLife is in possession of charges. The delegation will include, B Pheto, A Mosimanegape, M Hule, M Gaolape, B Segotso, S Modibe, D Letshwiti, T Entaile, G Seagile, Z Hirschfield and T Pabalinga. The letter further dictates that the meeting should be treated as urgent, citing the week ended yesterday (23- 27 November as ideal dates for the meeting to be held.

The letter further stressed that the Registrar general should be present at the meeting.

At the meeting, according to the letter, “the copy of the COSBOTS constitution and all documents requested as per item 3, 5 and 6 be availed to us.”

Speaking to WekendLife, the arts practitioners said that if CIPA fails to intervene, the next step would be to sue, through advice of their South African Advocate as well as engage the Botswana Democratic party Chairman, Mokgweetsi Masisi as well as the Minister responsible to seek a political solution.

COSBOTS has been accused of making it compulsory for artists to be part of COSBOTS in order to claim their royalties which is not stipulated anywhere in their contract. Any performer who has his works being used outside can go and claim their royalties without the intervention of COSBOTS. However it has come to the attention of this publication that other performers such as actors have never received their share of royalties since COSBOTS started the collection and distribution of royalties.  

One of the promoters Mox Gaolape said they are not defying COSBOTS. “What we are saying is that the 7, 5 % total revenue they are charging is too high, thus we want CIPA to call them and let us have a meeting because we are very important stakeholders,” he said.

However COSBOTS CEO, Thato Mokobi said there is no bad blood between them and the practitioners. He alluded to the fact that the seven percent charged to promoters when they stage shows is for the use of music because if they don’t pay COSBOTS that means they do not have any rights to use the music according to the revived Copyright and Neighbouring Act of 2006 which protects musicians. He said the idea is to make them register companies so that they are eligible to pay tax. “We at COSBOTS have the authority to stop a show if the promoter is failing to comply, if they don’t have the money to pay monies required before the show, they are given an ‘Acknowledgement of debt’ form to fill so that they pay after the show but some choose not to fill it,” he said. He however cleared the air that they have not received any letter from the practitioners and they are more than willing to work out the grievances. He said as an organisation they have a mandate and it should not be mistaken for fighting anyone or killing the industry.

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WeekendLife

All roads lead to Francistown for ATI’s concert

18th May 2022
ATI

Organisers of the much anticipated As One Music Concert say preparation for the much awaited as one of the music concert are at the peak, with ticket and merchandise sales at a high just 13 days before the event.

In a statement Kesego Okie, Managing Director of Blue Skies PR Agency and event coordinator “The Concert is a celebration of ATI’s journey in music. It is also an incredible platform for all stakeholders, particularly businesses that operate in Francistown, to show their commitment to the resuscitation of the City’s economy following the impact of Covid.

We are grateful for the reception by the city leadership and look forward to cooperate Francistown heeding our call to support the arts, which would in turn, be supporting many livelihoods and small business in the area”.

She expressed gratitude to the public for their immense support evidenced by ticket sales and talk ability, saying this is testimony that indeed As One the nation can go fa in the true spirit of boipelego (self-reliance).

The concert is partnership between Batho Bame Investment and Blue Skies PR Agency. “A lot of work has gone in to prepare for the highlight, and I am thankful to everyone who believes in the dream and supports us. I promise nothing but the very best of me and would love to express my utmost gratitude to all creatives and businesses that are a part of this Journey” Atasaone ATI Molemogi.

The concert will be the first music show taking place within the main pitch of the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium, which was chosen to host because of its distinct state of art ambiance, coupling Francistown’s position as a gate way to many strategic places in Botswana.

Francistown is not only rich in history, but also an enabler for economic activity for unearthed tourist destination surrounding it. It is an honour to have been given the approval by the city leadership and the people of Francistown to host this Concert in their backyard’ ATI.

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WeekendLife

AMVCAs To Host Hollywood Stars At 8th Edition

18th May 2022

As part of activities for the 8th edition of Africa’s most prestigious award ceremony, the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCAs), Africa Magic in association with MultiChoice Nigeria will host celebrity movie stars and film directors from Hollywood ahead of the awards ceremony taking place on Saturday, 14 May in Lagos.

The visiting Hollywood stars will be led by Tasha Smith, actress, director and producer, known for her role in the acclaimed films, ‘Why Did I Get Married?’ and its sequel, ‘Why Did I Get Married, Too?’. She will be joined by Bayo Akinfemi, a cast member of the popular television series, ‘Bob Hearts Abishola’ as well as Brandon Micheal Hall of the ‘God Friended Me’ series fame

Also expected are Sidra Smith, award-winning Producer and Head of Essence’s Film and TV Studio and Grant Housley, Hollywood Producer, Writer and Director currently at Paramount Pictures, where he has worked on some of the biggest films and most critically acclaimed television series in the world.

While in Nigeria, the stars will meet with the #AMVCA8 nominees and other industry stakeholders. This historic visit is in line with MultiChoice and Africa Magic’s efforts in sustaining the Africa film making and storytelling momentum, through deliberate global collaboration.

The eighth edition of the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards is brought to viewers by Africa Magic in association with MultiChoice and is proudly sponsored by Amstel Malta.
For more information, visit www.africamagic.tv/AMVCA and follow all official handles of Africa Magic on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #AMVCA8

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WeekendLife

Of Musicians and No Shows

10th May 2022
Musicians and No Shows

There is a growing unpleasant of artists who do not pitch for events they have been booked for; or simultaneously, there could be another development – false advertising – where artists’ names are used to draw large crowds.

Musicians and promoters in their mission to put bread on the table seem to have resorted to obscene means of securing their means. To many, this is tantamount to fraud and deception to gain an unfair advantage over their unsuspecting fans who swoon at the mention of their name, their presence and entire existence.

The month of May has just begun and bottomless grievances are pouring in of no show musicians at gigs they have been booked and paid for. Instead of leaving the crowd stunned by a spectacular show they are leaving revellers disappointed.

Exhibit A; This past weekend Eswatini’s DJ Uncle Waffles was scheduled to perform in Botswana. She never pitched up for the shows and continues to be silent on her lack of presence at the show. Exhibit B; Maphorisa, Kabza De Small and Sha Sha were all set to perform on 29 April at the Victoria Falls Carnival 10th Anniversary but did not arrive in Zambia for the gig.

In a statement released on Sunday 1 May, Victoria Falls Carnival organisers confirmed that flights and accommodation were organised for DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small and Sha Sha.
The statement continued; “Confirmations were sent to them as agreed and emails were sent to them several times before, for some reason they did not show up at the airport on the day of travel…

Above and beyond we tried to communicate with the artists to change the date of performance but still we could not get hold of them despite all the effort and all means of communication from our side,” Organisers have demanded that the artists refund them the full booking fee and the payments made for flights and accommodation

“All three artists were paid in full and contractually bound to perform at the Carnival, and accommodated at every corner with their numerous flight and accommodation change requests.” Adds the statement. Exhibit C; South African artist Prince Benza’s passport was confiscated by the Deputy Sheriffs pending payment for damages on breach of contract.

He was scheduled to perform at Mogobane on the 31st of December at the Reflector Music Festival but did not appear as well. He nabbed when he came into the country for a separate event.
The President of Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association (BEPA), Gilbert Seagile this week had his company; Gilbert Promotions registered in South Africa.

This puts him in an ideal spot to become an intermediary and help solve the feud between Botswana and South African artists and their no show at events.  Seagile emphasized that it’s not only international artists that miss events but even the local artists have the same tendencies. He elaborated that reasons for artists not pitching up are many amongst them ; breach of contracts , promoters not paying deposits and some can be natural like artist testing positive for Covid-19.

The BEPA president also indicated that fly-by-night promoters are also a concern as they do not follow the BEPA Code of conduct, “BEPA members are well coordinated, they have the code of conduct which guides them to do things accordingly. The government is pushing for promoters to join BEPA they have already started refusing with permits when one is not a member of BEPA.” he emphasized

Seagile said that the association is in talks with the South African Music Promoters Association (SAMPA) to provide protection of Botswana Promoters that when artists miss shows they can be able to rope in their lawyers in South Africa through SAMPA and Botswana through BEPA to compensate for losses incurred as a result of this exploitation.

He said another way of dealing with this matter is for Promoters to issue a contract to the artist as currently the norm is that the artist produces the contract to the promoter so this solution can help the promoters to protect themselves.

In an interview with Weekendlife, Superintendent Tumediso of Urban Police Station enunciated that matters of no show artists are normally reported by the promoter who normally comes as the complainant. The matter is then taken forward taking into consideration the evidence, this will in turn assist in determining on whether the case is theft, obtaining by false pretence or fraud.
When it is all said and done, revellers love musicians to hate them and hate them to love them. It is an unending toxic relationship which no one wants to pull away from.

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