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Licensing In A Collective Management Organization

In this edition we will look into the sensitive topic of licensing of Users in Collective Management. This is one of the interesting topics in collective management all over the world especially in developing countries where the issue of copyright comes as a new phenomenon.

At the moment there are heated debates, accusations and cross accusations across the board, Users and Members, Owners and Creators alike on why payments for use of music and other copyrighted works is essential. Before going into the nitty gritties of licensing it is perhaps paramount to zero in to what exactly licensing entails.Licensing in simple terms is a mechanism through which Owners of the works: Creators or Artists in lay man’s language, grant permission to another person or business establishment, it may be a DJ, a Radio Station or any institution to exercise the rights belonging to the copyright owner. In the territory of Botswana, COSBOTS has the sole right under the law to monitor usage of works, licence, collect and distribute to Owners for the broadcast, diffusing of any musical or non-musical works belonging to both local and foreign artists.COSBOTS also controls the right to publicly display protected works such as paintings, sculptures, engravings and works of applied art by business establishments.


What is a collective

management organisation

A Collective Management Organization (CMO) is a licensing body which grants rights on behalf of multiple rights holders in a single (‘blanket’) licence for a single payment. Generally speaking, rights holders will join a CMO as members or transfer rights to the CMO and instruct it to licence rights on their behalf. The CMO charges a fee for the license, from which it deducts an administrative charge before distributing the remainder as royalties. CMOs including COSBOTS are typically not-for-profit organisations. The owner of the copyright is known as the Licensor, while the beneficiary is the Licensee. In this instance, COSBOTS acts on behalf of the copyright owner. The licence is a contract that runs annually, or per event and due to the many ways in which musical or non-musical works are performed/displayed, the fees payable under COSBOTS licence or the type of licence can vary depending on usage of the works.


Users of

Copyright/protected works – Music

These are business entities, organisations or individuals who use copyright or protected works in their business operations.


Essential Users;

refers to instances where music is indispensable to the business establishment, the business cannot operate without

music. (for example televisions and radio stations, concerts and festivals, night clubs etc.)


Important Users;

refers to instances where music provides significant entertainment to customers and lures them to the business( for example bars and liquor restaurants, advertising jingles, gala events, music shops etc.)


Incidental Users;

refers to instances where music is incidental to the business, it adds value to the business through provision of passive background entertainment (for instance, trade fairs, chain stores, shops, cinemas, hotels and lodges, public transport, music on hold, beauty and hair salons etc.)


USERS OF Copyright/ PROTECTED WORKS – NON – MUSIC (literary, visual arts)


Sale of Artistic works;

Craft shops, any business entity or individual that displays artistic works for the purpose of sale, shall provide COSBOTS with a list of works for sale and the authors therefore.


Public Display/ Exhibitors works;

Business entities, organisations or individuals who exhibit or display artistic works to the public for a fee shall inform COSBOTS of its intention at least  two weeks prior to the exhibition and provide a list of artistic works to be exhibited.

How licensing works

COSBOTS licence comes as an obligation on the licensee to submit regular, detailed returns (log sheets) of the musical works performed or played on the licensed premises to ease the process of royalty distribution.

COSBOTS gives out the log sheet form when issuing the licence.

Users are obliged to submit the log sheet upon the agreed time frame


In our next edition, we will continue to explore the types of licences and tariffs attached to usage, why there is need for acquirement of a licence and penalties for non-adherence to the Act.


(Please note that as we continue to receive feedback from Stakeholders through the Stakeholder engagement exercise, we have gathered that most of the Stakeholders especially Members and Creators of works prefer our communications to be made in Setswana to benefit them better, hence we intend to switch to Setswana in the subsequent columns)


Tel: (+267) 392 8055



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Physical Address: Unit 1, Plot 93 Gaborone International Commerce Park

Postal Address: P/Bag B075 Gaborone


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