Music is all around us. It’s in the air we breathe, and fills the places we go. With so many people enjoying music in countless venues, beaches, bars, parks, planes, trains and automobiles, it can get a little confusing knowing who should be paying licence fees for the public use of music.
As the leading music rights society in Africa, no one cares more about music than SAMRO. And SAMRO does not want to prevent anyone from enjoying the music that adds so much value to life. Yet, as a champion of music rights, SAMRO has a duty to its members to ensure they receive compensation when their music is used publicly.
SAMRO also wants to help music users avoid having to pay backdated licence fees, so, it’s important to keep everyone informed – on what constitutes the public and personal use of music, and when and where licence fees are payable.
Essentially, it comes down to the intention behind playing the music. For example, if you want to enjoy music in a casual setting in your home, or with a small group of friends, it can be deemed as personal use. Therefore, no licence is required. However, if the intention is to attract the public to a venue or space by playing music, this does not qualify as personal use. For example, if a person repeatedly goes down to the park and opens their car doors to play music and attracts passersby as a result, SAMRO could view that as a mobile disco.
Although it is easy to understand that a licence is required when music is used for commercial or revenue-generation purposes, the same also applies to a non-profit making public venue such as a church. In other words, the individual does not necessarily need to be profiting from the music directly for it to be deemed commercial use.
Perhaps he or she is selling clothes from the car at the same time, or making and selling food? Whatever the case, the music is adding value – which means the musicians behind the sounds should be paid for their hard work.
So it makes sense to create a licence fee structure for this type of use – and that’s exactly what the South African Copyright Act makes provision for.
Awareness of licensing regulations is even more important for retailers and entertainment venues – in fact, all businesses that operate from a permanent location and use music on an ongoing basis. For them, it is better to become licensed right from the start than to go months or years and accumulate unpaid licence fees.
Music fills the air and fills our hearts wherever we go. With your help, we can reward the musicians who create these sounds and ensure that they will be here to stay. Remember, if in doubt, phone the SAMRO Licensing Department. The team will be more than happy to assist you.
Email the Licensing Department at email@example.com.