ZIMURA urges government to establish regulatory framework amid ZICCO’s registration as a CMO   

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By Staff Reporter

THE Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (ZIMURA) is calling on the government to implement a robust regulatory framework after the registration of the Zimbabwe Council of Copyrights (ZICCO) as a Collective Management Organization (CMO).

Before ZICCO’s licensing earlier this year by the Justice Ministry, ZIMURA had been Zimbabwe’s sole CMO responsible for administering copyrights and intellectual property for its members and music creators worldwide.

ZIMURA grants music licenses to businesses and entities wishing to commercially use musical works through broadcasting or making them available to the public.

In an interview, ZIMURA’s Executive Director, Polisile Ncube-Chimhinhi, expressed concerns that the lack of a clear regulatory framework for the two CMOs’ operations could lead to conflict.

“ZIMURA is requesting the government to provide us with regulations as collecting societies, now that there are two operating in the same arts field.

“ZIMURA would like the government to give us regulations as collecting societies now that there are two collecting societies operating in the same arts field.

“There is a lot of trodding on each other’s toes in the field, in terms of going to the same clients asking for the same copyright license and yet different clients play different music,” said Chimhinhi.

She highlighted the potential scenario of ZIMURA licensing a client that is using ZICCO’s music, or vice versa, which could create conflicts and confusion if not addressed.

ZIMURA represents renowned local artists such as Jah Prayzah, Oliver Mtukudzi, Ex Q, Macheso, Charles Charamba, and Winky D, collecting royalties on their behalf.

Chimhinhi emphasised that without a clear regulatory framework, conflicts may also arise in the distribution of artists’ and publishers’ royalties, as there are currently no regulations governing the conduct of both collecting societies with respect to registered artists.

“The challenge then comes at distribution time because how is this ZICCO going to distribute to a ZIMURA member when they don’t have the meter data of this music because it will be in the other collecting society.

“We have few broadcasters in Zimbabwe and all the broadcasters are supposed to be licensed or copyrighted, are we saying these broadcasters should have two copyright licenses and they should develop new systems that give them two different log sheets which separate the musicians for the two collecting societies.

“If the government could come up with regulations and tell us exactly how we are supposed to operate in the same field it would assist a lot,” added Chimhinhi.

When questioned about the matter, the Justice Ministry’s information department said that ZICCO was a registered CMO, and there was room for the coexistence of both organisations.

“ZICCO is a legally registered CMO and is carrying its mandate.

“There is scope for both ZIMURA and ZICCO to co-exist because they have members who support their existence and operations.

“There are sufficient regulations in terms of the law to monitor and supervise the activities of CMOs,” it said.