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SAMRO TO EXTEND ITS SCOPE (article first published : 2006-05-16)

The Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) has announced its intention to extend their scope of music rights management activities to include the administration of the Reproduction Rights in Broadcast and Other Digital exploitation of musical works on behalf of composers, lyricists, music publishers, other rights holders and affiliated societies.

Since its inception over forty years ago, SAMRO's main focus has been the administration of Performing Rights, which is a bundle of rights representing the rights of composers, publishers and affiliated societies when their musical works are included in a broadcast, public performance as well as in a transmission by diffusion service. The administration of Reproduction Rights in musical works, commonly known as Mechanical Rights, will see the organisation offering a more convenient service to two of its customer bases, the music rights owners on the one hand and the music users on the other.

"The decision to consider the extension of our services in this manner was taken after listening to the representations made by our members to our Executive and Management teams about some of the difficulties they face regarding the administration of their Reproduction Rights, says SAMRO's Chief Executive Officer, Rob Hooijer. "We did not take the appeal lightly as we embarked on a long and deliberative process of ensuring that we had the skills, structure and capacity to administer Reproduction Rights in addition to the Performing Rights that we already administer."

With a membership of over 6,000 and revenues in the region of R200 million, SAMRO is currently the largest society in the field of collective management of copyright in Africa. It is a member in good standing of the International Confederation of Societies of Composers and Authors (CISAC), based in Paris, France. Its current Chief Executive serves on the Board of Directors of CISAC and other Executives serve on various bodies and structures within CISAC, including the chairmanship of the important Distribution Technical Committee. This latter committee is the CISAC committee that, inter alia, recommends rules, standards and procedures governing the distribution of royalties to affiliated composers, lyricists and publishers of music as well as among societies.

"We continue to invest significant time as well as human and technical resources so as to ensure that we shall be able to administer rights holders' interests, receive licence fees, compute royalties and make timely distributions," said Alan Johnston, SAMRO's Corporate Services Director. He added that the organisation has just concluded a project which allows rightsholders to access the information relating to their works over the internet. Furthermore SAMRO will be finalising, in a matter of weeks, the implementation of the second version of the Common Works Registration (CWR2) format, which has been adopted by major music publishers throughout the world to facilitate the transmission or exchange of information about their catalogues and individual works.

Nick Motsatse, SAMRO's Marketing Director, added that the announcement is merely a declaration of intent as they are currently engaging key stakeholders both locally and internationally. "Although we are ready at an operational level, we are currently in discussions with composers, music publishers, international affiliates as well as potential licensees," explained Motsatse. "It is important that we listen carefully to what they say and that we find a solution that will meet the real needs of our customers, after all our value system involves trust and relationships."

SAMRO is a membership based organisation administering Performing Rights in musical works on behalf of its own members as well as the members of over a hundred affiliated societies throughout the world. It has been actively involved in various music industry initiatives in South Africa as well as in music rights management matters throughout the African continent. Governed by a Board of Directors it complies with recommendations of the King II Report on Corporate Governance as evidenced by the structure and composition of its Board of Directors. As a company limited by guarantee it has regularly and consistently held its Annual General Meeting of members as well as the publication of its Annual Financial Statements in accordance with the requirements of the Companies' Act. It runs annual national workshops for members in order to keep them informed of developments and respond to any queries they may have.

More information from Vanessa Perumal on 011 781 9596 or 083 268 1446 or e-mail: vanessa@jtcomms.co.za




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