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SAMRO investigating SABC supplier, not the other way round

SAMRO (Southern African Music Rights Organisation) has reacted to an article published in various South African newspapers and online platforms on 6 and 7 March 2012, stating that the allegation in it is incorrect, confusing and misleading. SAMRO is neither under investigation by the SABC nor SAPS.
SAMRO investigating SABC supplier, not the other way round

The investigation referred to is said to be a criminal case opened by SAMRO into the conduct of an external supplier contracted to the SABC.

The report, which relates to the SABC's implementation of the Auditor-General's recommendations to improve corporate governance at the public broadcaster, contains an indirect quote attributed to SABC head of compliance and monitoring Sully Motsweni. According to the article, she told Parliament's portfolio committee on communications that "nine criminal cases had been lodged and more than R200 000 recovered ... These included an investigation that was underway into the Southern African Music Rights Organisation."

This contains incorrect information and creates the false impression that SAMRO is the subject of a criminal investigation.

SAMRO investigating SABC supplier, not the other way round

SAMRO investigation

In 2009, when SAMRO calculated the broadcast distribution of royalties due to music rights holders, an anomaly was detected in the cue sheets submitted by the SABC 1 music programme Music Lounge.

After SAMRO and the SABC investigated the matter, compelling evidence was uncovered that there had been fraudulent activity in the returns for that particular programme.

The SAMRO team spent time at the SABC, viewing episodes of the show, to confirm the details of the music rights holders and works played during the television broadcast of the programme. There is reportedly evidence that false cue sheets had been submitted by the programme producer, who, it would appear, had purposefully failed to reflect all the music that had been included in the broadcasts.

This alleged fraud would have resulted in the rightful authors and composers of the music works in question being prejudiced, as they would not have received the royalties due to them.

Root out unethical and illegal practices

SAMRO subsequently appointed a law firm to assist in drawing up a prima facie case against the implicated production company and opened a criminal case in May 2010 with the commercial crimes unit at the Brixton Police Station; case number 535/05/2010.

The case is currently being investigated by the police and is also under review by the Special Investigations Unit.

SAMRO would like to assure its members - the majority of whom are composers, authors and publishers of music - that it acts in their best interests at all times and will continue to investigate and root out unethical and illegal practices that threaten to compromise the integrity of their intellectual property.


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