Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) is not pleased at all with the conduct of Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS). This comes after the latter cancelled the scheduled meeting with the former at the eleventh hour.
BOMU Secretary General, Rasina Winfred Rasina, ragefully noted that they had a meeting scheduled for today with COSBOTS. To BOMU’s shock they woke up to an email from COSBOTS cancelling the meeting which has been pending for twelve (12) months. The email, according to Rasina, was sent around midnight.
“After COSBOTS had confirmed this meeting, we were shocked to wake up to their email; cancelling the same mentioned meeting. That COSBOTS cancels a meeting of this nature in the middle of the night is enough to conclude that; theirs are activities of the night, activities belonging to darkness and hence satanic by design. We are putting it out to our members and the Botswana Creative Industry that we have confirmed that monies in royalties, belonging to them are being held by and in possession of people of the night.” charged Rasina.
Chief among the issues which BOMU wanted to discuss with COSBOTS was copyright royalties. BOMU is not not satisfied with how COSBOTS distributes the monies from royalties. The musicians are complaining that they are fed crumbs of their own hardwork while the management goes away with fat pockets.
“These monies in the form of royalties, are essentially from Batswana in the form of taxes, deliberately designed through the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act CAP 68:02, to cushion Creative Industry Practitioners. These monies are not meant to be collected and distributed by and amongst people who only want to engage at night and in darkness. But sadly so, we have those in possession of these monies refusing to account to stakeholders. COSBOTS is misbehaving, you can’t be crediting artists P13.00 (Thirteen Pula) in the name of royalties and not even provide a breakdown of how you reached such an disdainful figure of amount, so that at the very least, artists know as to how COSBOTS reached that scanty amount. It is interesting that COSBOTS is able to provide a breakdown of their board allowances were one of them gets a P66, 648.82 cheque and in the same vein credits the owner of copyright, the owner of the intellectual property, the musician, the one who toils and sweats, the owner of the monies and our member; with P11.00 (Eleven Pula) through Poso money.”
It has been reported that in the just ended financial year COSBOTS’s turn over was thirteen million Pula (P13 Million). Out of this whooping amount COSBOTS is said to have distributed only One point five million Pula (P1.5 Million) or eleven percent (11%) to artists. This leaves COSBOTS with eleven point five million Pula (P11.5 Million). “This 11.5 Million Pula is then given names such as; board allowances, salaries, operational costs, rentals, administrative expenditures, strategy sessions and tea and biscuits, and other imaginary costs designed to allow financial rampage.” BOMU lamented.
BOMU commits to fight until they get what is due to the artists, that which the artists are working hard for through their arts.