The Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of COSBOTS following a challenge by one of the key consumer of copyrighted works, Duma FM decided to appeal a judgement made by Honourable Justice Dambe at the High Court.
The appeal which was presided over by a panel of three judges which included Hon. Justices; Lesetedi, Tafa and Howie.
This ruling comes at a critical point in time where the Collective Management Organisation (CMO) has been struggling to distribute royalties due to resistance and in some instances delays in paying for the works by users.
This particular case is of major significance to the core mandate of COSBOTS. It sends a stern message to errant users that fail to continuouly comply to provisions of the act that requires every user of copyrited works to licence with COSBOTS for such exploitation of artists works. This list of users includes DJs, Promoters, Broadcasters, Retail Outlets and many others enumerated in the licencing rules of the Society
It is common knowledge and a well documented fact, that many of the users still continue to challenge the authority of COSBOTS to collect royalties on behalf of owners of works as protected by the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act of Botswana.
The unprecedented Appeals Court judgment sends a clear message to users that they are compelled to obey the law and comply with provisions of the Act.
In the same vein, the Court has through the decision of the esteemed justices, provided the Society with teeth to bite, whereas others have in the past not taken seriously the organisations efforts to collect royalties.
The inability to collect
This obligation to pay royalties is based in most cases on the regulations of collective management societies and corresponds to the legal imperatives linked to management without a mandate. The outcome of the Court ruling will now assist in reinforcing the ability of COSBOTS to collect royalties and enable the organisation to meet its obligations of paying for copyright works.
News coming out on Fridays successful litigation against Duma FM has strengthened the resolve of COSBOTS to pay royalties and much to the surprise of many of its bewildered members, has this week started paying members royalties in respect of its 7th distribution operation.
In order to ensure that all income is included in future distributions the Board, Management and all Staff of COSBOTS have called upon all rights holders with works on the musical platform to continue declaring their works to ensure that such works are adequately documented.
Such documentation serves as a basis for distribution works to be undertaken by the CMO. In this regard, COSBOTS has committed to taking definitive action in creating a sustainable creative industry by ensuring that its Members derive maximum benefit whenever entities and individual use their works and are licensed to exploit these works.