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PANSA HELPS CATS MUSICIANS (article first published : 2001-11-22)

The Performing Arts Network of South Africa (PANSA) has assisted musicians contracted to record selected music from Andrew Lloyd Webber's CATS score for use in the ARTSCAPE and State Theatre productions of CATS, to obtain a better deal.

Previous experience of musicians being "blacklisted" for questioning their contracts prompted musicians contracted to record the CATS score to approached PANSA to act on their behalf.

Central to their concerns was a clause in the contract which stated that "the musician hereby grants and assigns with full title guarantee to (the company) the entire copyright (and where relevant by way of present grant of future copyright) in all the products of the Musician's services under this Agreement throughout the world for the full period of copyright and all renewals and extensions and the Musician unconditionally and irrevocably waives all moral rights arising in the Recording throughout the world. The Musician agrees to execute such documents as may be requested by (the company) as a way of further assurance".

This meant that musicians - paid in South African currency - would not be entitled to future royalties for the music which would generate income in dollars or sterling. Also, amounts being paid for rehearsals and recording sessions were below industry standards and there was no payment in lieu of rights to royalties being ceded.

After consultations with entertainment lawyers and unions, PANSA wrote to the management of ARTSCAPE (co-producers of the CATS production although not the contracting party in the written contract) to raise these concerns and to propose alternatives.

Thanks to PANSA’s efforts, the above clause has been withdrawn from the contract and the overall remuneration for the artists has been increased by approximately a third. Should the recording be used elsewhere, other than for the South African productions of CATS, the musicians will earn an additional sum equivalent to the amount paid to them for the recording.

"While we do not see PANSA becoming a union, we will continue to lobby in the macro and micro-interests of our members and of the performing arts generally," said Mike van Graan, national Chairperson of PANSA. "Obviously, there's a need for remuneration guidelines within the industry and for a mechanism to ensure that contracts are checked as a matter of course to determine whether they are consistent with South African law and industry standards, without prejudicing the artists involved", he said.

PANSA also acknowledged the sympathetic and speedy manner in which ARTSCAPE's management approached and resolved the matter.




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