Intellectual property law and its applications are frequently misunderstood, plagued by the notion that ‘big business’ is trying to bar access in an age where freedom of access to information is paramount. But the truth of the matter is that the fundamental goal of intellectual property is to encourage the creation of new material, by providing authors, composers, recording artists and the like with an incentive to create, usually in the form of royalties, and by balancing the interests of various stakeholders.
The importance of intellectual property cannot be understated in a country such as South Africa, where the development of the cultural industries is so closely entwined with the success of our social and economic development. One particular industry identified by government is that of the music industry, which has a vital role to play in nation building. As was highlighted by the Music Industry Task Team (MITT), key to the success of the local music industry is the implementation of legislation that protects musicians and other industry stakeholders, in part by ensuring they are adequately rewarded for their work.
The Performers’ Organisation of South Africa Trust (POSA) is a Trust established to administer Needletime Rights on behalf of recording artists/musicians. POSA represents more than ten thousand (10 000) recording artists.
POSA started distributing needletime royalties in December 2014, and so far more than 6000 featured artists, non-featured artists and other featured artists have been paid their needletime royalties.
POSA is an associate member of SCAPR, the international federation of needletime rights societies based in Brussels, Belgium.
As Pfanani Lishivha, POSA’s Executive General Manager, explains, ‘We are very happy to be able to assist musicians in reaping the full benefits brought about by the administration of Needletime to South Africa.’