CITYLIFE/ARTS sent questions to the SABC relating to the dispute over the payment of royalties, and the public broadcaster’s Gugu Ntuli, SABC Group Executive for Corporate Affairs and Marketing responses to the SAMPRA claims as follows:
“As a matter of principle, the SABC does not litigate through the media; therefore, we will deal with the matter once we are served with the relevant papers. For the record, the SABC does not owe SAMPRA R250 million. In addition, threats of litigation do not concern the SABC. The Corporation will deal with this matter as and when the relevant papers are served. Also, the SABC does speak on behalf of SAMPRA.
It must be noted that the SABC has a legal obligation to pay a predetermine percentage of Needletime royalties to registered and accredited Collecting Societies. Currently, there are two known registered and accredited Collecting Societies namely, IMPRA and SAMPRA.
The SABC has set aside an amount due to for payment of Needletime royalty and has always been ready to pay the amount to the relevant Collecting Societies. However, the SABC has not paid Needletime Royalties to either Collecting Society. The reason for the non-payment is that the two Collecting Societies cannot agree on the percentage split of the determine amount.
To facilitate the resolution of the dispute between the two Collecting Societies, the SABC proposed that the matter be referred to Arbitration for speedy resolution. Regrettably, notwithstanding the in-principle agreement to refer same to Arbitration, the two Collecting Societies could not agree to the scoping of the dispute. Thus, the Arbitration could not be pursued.
It is imperative to note that the SABC cannot pay Needletime royalties to any Collecting Society whilst a dispute on the percentage split between the two Collecting Societies remains unresolved. Further, the resolution of the percentage split is dependent on the two Collecting Societies and not on the SABC.
As part of the SABC’s commitment to the payment of Needletime royalties, the SABC has already made an advance payment of R20 million to both Collecting Societies.”