'ZBC prejudicing composers'

HARARE - Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (Zimura) says Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) is prejudicing their members in terms of music royalties because of their manual log-in system.

When a broadcaster plays music, they are supposed to log in the song, internationally it is done through a monitoring system, but the national broadcaster does not have one.

Zimura is an association of composers and publishers of music established to protect copyright and other rights of Zimbabwean musicians.

Only two commercial radio stations (ZiFM and Star FM) are digitalised.

Zimura’s licensing manager Henry Makombe told the Daily News that ZBC’s lack of digitisation was holding them back.

“Log sheets from ZBC are manual and we have challenges on the handwritings, some of it is not clear. If it cannot be read that means the musician played there will end up being prejudiced.

“The other challenge is that we get carbon copies of the sheets, the originals going to the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe and when it is not clear again, there is a problem. If the DJ forgets to log the song in again, there is a problem.

“You thereby have incidents whereby an artiste will say I heard my song being played several times on radio, how come I am not receiving any money?” he said.

Questioned on why Zimura could not invest in their own monitoring system, Makombe said they had tried to but they faced challenges.

“When you purchase it, you constantly have to update the software and it ends up costing the organisation and artistes a lot of money. It does not really become yours, you still have fees and you cannot tamper with it to suit your local needs.

“When you want to do that, you have to engage the manufacturers, who subsequently charge you,” he said.

Makombe also shed light on the current royalty disbursements taking place.

“So far we have sent out messages of collection to 1 200 members out of  2 876 members. Out of those, about 50 percent have come out to collect,” he said.

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