ZIMURA educates artistes on music rights, royalties Clive Mono Mukundu

 Muchaneta Chimuka-Arts Correspondent

ArtistEs, music composers andwriters, among other performers, recently gathered at the Zimbabwe College of Music in Harare where they were taught about different disciplines that are expected in the arts industry.

 The event was attended by Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (ZIMURA) officials and other stakeholders.

ZIMURA’s major mandate is to collect and distribute royalties in a professional and ethical way.

 ZIMURA deputy director Henry Makombe said artistes’ intellectual property and copyrights must be respected and protected, as it was their source of income.

 “We gathered here to educate artistes, instrumentalists, composers, producers and aspiring musicians on the operations of ZIMURA and we are happy that you came in your numbers fighting for the same cause of raising the Zimbabwean flag higher in as far as producing excellent work is concerned,” he said. 

“Good music is highly marketable and you can easily find that it will be played on most radio and television stations, hotels and buses, making it easy for the owner to earn more royalties. 

“We want you to know this information such that you don’t get manipulated by broadcasters. Know your rights and no works should be used for free without your consent as the producer.” 

Makombe said the moment an artiste creates music, that’s when their work assumes exclusive rights to authorise or prohibit the use of artiste’s work be it by public and private broadcasters, companies or individuals who use them for profit making.

 “Music composers, instrumentalists and writers of music, among others, should have their welfare catered for by the fruits of their works, therefore, consumers have the obligation to pay for the works to support them. 

“ZIMURA acts as a legal representative in court in an event of copyright infringement. The rights that are granted to the copyright owner include reproduction broadcasting, public performance, display and distribution and they must be respected.” 

He said artistes had the freedom of uploading their creative works on social media and hype them to reach the mass audience for their advantage due to the fact that all plays, views and Google royalties are remittable for ZIMURA and become a double benefit to members.

 Makombe added that artiste’s royalties are directly remittable to the artiste’s accounts.

Roseline Chirume, the ZIMURA’s head of documentation and distribution, highlighted the unsustainable royalties, rampant piracy, corruption that occurs at some radio stations whereby some DJs are allegedly demanding  bribes in exchange for airplay, ignorance of copyright law and economic challenges that they face as an organisation in a bid to support local artistes.

 “There are several benefits for being a member of ZIMURA like the incapacitation allowance, gratuity and funeral benefit. We have over 40 years of collecting and distributing of royalties and over 4 300 local and international composers who are being protected through contracts of reciprocal representation and collecting societies in other countries.” 

National Arts Council of Zimbabwe deputy director Josiah Kusena said their mandate was to promote and develop various art forms such as music, dance, theatre, visual arts and literature among others.

 “We support artistes and cultural practitioner’s through funding their projects and we also provide them with capacity building workshops such that they produce good works that can be marketed locally and internationally for their own good,” he said. 

“Art work is often overlooked and it is high time that we move hand in glove with the new media technologies in order to meet the international standards. In other countries artistes are making a living because there is a lot of support. 

Kusena said through the Arts Development Fund, they provided financial support for the production arts and research, exhibition and promotion of artistic works.

Principal public prosecutor Inspectorate, Training, Research, Legal Reform and Anti-Corruption Unit, Tafadzwa Havazvidi highlighted the duties of the National Prosecution Authority, which is headed by Prosecutor General Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo.

“The mandate of the National Prosecuting Authority is to bring offenders to justice by ensuring that the right person is timeously prosecuted for the correct crime,” she said.

 “This includes among other crimes or offences created in section 59(1) of the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act Chapter 26:06. 

“Hence we also play our part in protecting artistic work, but we encourage that there be sufficient evidence for a case to yield value because most cases end up being acquitted due to lack of evidence.” 

ZIMURA’s executive director Polisile Ncube-Chimhini said their future plans included increasing the frequency of distributions during the year so that members receive their royalties while they still have value.

“We are also working with some partners in the creation of a music monitoring system that will assist in identifying music used by broadcasters and other players. Currently we rely on log sheets from broadcasters,” she said. 

“Members should utilise digital platforms to communicate their music to the public and not just rely on old ways that only reach small audiences. We now live in a global village and music is consumed across the globe. 

“ZIMURA strives to deliver the best service to its members and the members can be rest assured that their rights are in safe hands.” 

Some of the artistes who attended the event include Pastor Lawrence Munjeye Haisa, Savana Afrik, Josphat Somanje, Clive Mono Mukundu, Kireni Zulu and Dereck Mpofu.

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