Mark Rosin CEO of South African Music Rights Association (Samro) has clarified the issues pertaining to music artist Eugene Mthethwa’s fight for his royalties.
Speaking to The Citizen, Rosin confirmed that Mthethwa, a member of the legendary kwaito outfit Trompies is still protesting inside the Samro offices on Friday.
He chained himself to a pole on Thursday to get the attention of the body.
“We are trying to get him to leave, we think this is inappropriate behaviour…people have a right to protest but I think he has overreached and overstayed his welcome on the issue.”
Rosin gave more details on the allegation Mthethwa fraudulently accessed Samro funds several years ago.
Samro investigated the allegations that he allegedly encouraged his daughter to apply for a bursary from Samro in 2013. He admitted to the Sunday World that he lied to secure university funds for his daughter. Mthethwa claimed the funds were a loan and he was going to pay them back.
“This happened before my time as CEO, basically what he did was apply for a bursary for his dead brother or sister’s daughter. Samro allocated a bursary as part of a development program, only to found out that in fact, it was for his own daughter.”
After the investigation and admission, Samro revoked his membership but they reinstated it in “good faith”.
Rosin explained when Mthethwa earns money they do deduct it from his account because he owes them an outstanding R120,000 from the bursary.
“This is a much more complex issue than the sensation of the protest. Whenever there is a royalty due it will be deducted from that amount.”
Samro is a body that helps songwriters and composer get paid when their song plays on the radio – royalties.
SABC fills out a form called a Q sheet, they then send it to Samro.
“We put it into the system, we take an allocated amount for that play and we pay it over to the composer or publisher,” Rosin said.
He said Mthethwa will receive this royalty whenever his songs play.
“He has the idea that when Trompies was big back in 1988 a lot of his music was played and he wasn’t paid for it. That his music has been played but he has never been able to substantiate that claim.” said the Samro CEO before adding that it would take a lot of resources to look back at the claim.
In a video posted on Twitter, Mthethwa demanded answers.
— Mbuyiseni Ndlozi (@MbuyiseniNdlozi) February 18, 2021
Rosin further clarified that the music body represents songwriters and publishers, not music artists, as they go through their record companies in regards to royalties.
“But in many incidences, songwriters and the composers are the artists. Many people are unhappy, they don’t believe they have been paid what they are due. I can not contest that artists don’t complain, what is not correct is that we are not transparent… The allegation that you cant see what is going on is completely contested, it is untrue.”
This after the EFF claimed earlier on Friday that the organisation lacked transparency.
EFF Statement On Fighter Ringo Madlingozi And Eugene Mthethwa’s Sit In At SAMRO Offices pic.twitter.com/Uhew9sirpj
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) February 19, 2021
Rosin was clear that as a member, Eugene gets statements that detail how much he has earned and has the opportunity to contest or get clarification on the amounts.
“Eugene is disgruntled, we have tried to engage in some many different ways with him. Unless this isn’t solved the Eugene way it won’t be resolved. That is very sad for me, it is what it is.”
On the issue regarding the Copyrights Amendment Act, Rosin says Samro has taken a strong stance against it because it is “prejudicial” around fair usage, what music can be used for free and what music can be paid for.
“We have taken a very firm line against aspects of the bill which allow, predominately big tech to use music for free. That is what our stance has been. Big tech has been lobbying substantially and politically in certain quarters so it is a political fight in many ways.”
Samro currently has a membership that stands at 20,000 and Rosin concludes they are trying to improve their turnaround times.
“We have to improve, we got to get our service levels a better rate but it doesn’t mean the service levels are bad. Like in any organisation things can improve and become more efficient. ”