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Intellectual Property Matters

Publishing Date : 27 April, 2015

Author :

Tlotlo R. Kgakatsi
COSBOTS's REALITY


Think about it, global music royalty collections reached 850 billion Pula in 2013, and are being seen to be constantly growing. This may not compare with the diamond industry but, maybe wildlife and tourism. The Global Collections Report by The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) shows total royalty collections is constantly growing by 4.6% with the 2013 latest report.

Much is still to be achieved with regard to developments in copyright and intellectual property especially in developing nations, shadowing down on Africa, where many of the nation’s rather seek to concentrate on serious, immediate issues of poverty, hunger and diseases. Botswana is however fortunate to have rigorously jumped to economic diversification drives, seeing and bringing to the fold the enormous economic capabilities of the creative industry.


Intellectual property management, inclusive of copyright, is complex for many reasons. The introduction of a society such as COSBOTS, has significantly brought about changes in processes, and questioned the basic thinking, which had been accepted as a comfort zone.

Copyright matters need some degree of competence, given its specialized framework; it therefore requires knowledgeable people that can advise and guide the legal, practical, political and managerial aspects of copyright and related rights. To some extent, the whole field of intellectual property management. The main burden remains the fact that all this requires a paradigm shift for society as a whole, never an easy feat.


The Copyright Society of Botswana is undoubtedly here to stay and it continues to play an important role in today’s political and economic environment, mostly to begin with through creating awareness and educating Batswana about this phenomenon.

It is worth noting that there is undoubtedly some turbulence around copyright issues and its role in society today, given the rapidly changing technological and economic status of the creative industry. Beyond these developments, sustainability of the creative industry is key to the activities of COSBOTS. Without economic empowerment to the creative industry, there simply can never be continuity in the music, arts and films we enjoy daily.


COSBOTS makes it fair, that persons who devote their skill and efforts to the production of intellectual creations are able to exercise some control of their use, which goes a long way as these rights are stimulus to society's growth and the industry's progress. If copyright protection exists in a work, the author is encouraged not only to create the work but also to make it public and disseminate it widely, because he knows that he will not lose control over it simply because it is made known to others.

Such a wide dissemination of works is generally of great benefit for the society as a whole. The pricevfdfvb cvnhg for use of the work/s, reflects in the costs resulting from the exclusive rights, that have to be paid by the users as royalties. Collective management has proved to work with relative flexibility as the costs maybe high or low, but have to be paid, this has served, and will continue to serve all round creativity and inventiveness within society.

The year of the Lord was in 2011, when artists or owners of copyright works across the country started registering as members of COSBOTS, consequently assigning or transferring their rights to COSBOTS through written contract.

This agreement allows the society to set rates for royalties on behalf of members and further monitor usage of members protected works for national broadcast. This, on the surface of it appears to be fairly simple, but remember empowerment comes at a cost. Authors or Lyrists are the power brand of the melodies of movies and radio jingles that keeps the industry buzzing. Composers turn words into musical notes and give movies life of originality.

The players in this process will be paid royalties for public performance rights. Depending on the application, in certain instances, the authors and composers are paid royalties for "mechanical rights", derived from conversion of the original format to one that is compatible with the system to publicize the music. This is the future of the music business that COSBOTS strives to develop and empower.

Mr. Tlotlo R. Kgakatsi  is Corporate Communications Manager at Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS)  E-mail: tlotlok@cosbots.com

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