Copyrights and needletime

by Siphesihle Msomi

samro logo

The Southern African Music Rights Organisation is a collection society whose main purpose is to create value for the creators and the users of music. This organisation, being in existence since 1962 has built for itself a reputable presence in the music industry, not only within the continent of Africa but also internationally as it is a member in good standing of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC).

Copyrights unpacked

By Russel Hlongwane and Marlyn Ntsele


Copyright seems to be one of those words that all artists are expected to know the meaning of. We at Onexus know it is not always easy and that it is even harder to keep up within an industry of rapid technological change. Worry not, we will help you “unpack” the term.  

Copyright is: 

“ Protection that covers any work that can been seen, heard and/or touched, if these works are on tangible material ”

It is the Copyrights Act of 1976 that governs copyright in South Africa.

Copyrights protects the creators of an artwork, so also of a musical work. There are two conditions for a work to receive copyrights protection:

1.    The musical work has to be tangible – it can not be an idea in your head.
2.    The musical work has to be original – it has to be your  own work.


In South Africa the copyrights of a musical work valid for the life of the author +50 years. In other words, the copyright is removed 50 years after the death of the ‘’creator’’. After this the ‘’product’’ belongs to the public domain.

Copyrights is an exclusive right. This means that only the author has the rights to decide what happens to his or her musical work, unless her or she has given someone permission and remember this has to be in writing. This right exists automatically once you come up with the work.

Owning the copyrights over a song gives the rights to:
●    Make a sound recording;
●    Reproduce a sound recording;
●    Arrange, adapt, translate and sample the sound recording;
●    Broadcast a sound recording;
●    Give others permission to do the above.

Now to be able the proof you own the Copyrights in your work and to earn royalties it is wise to register your music with SAMRO (South African Music Rights Organization). All you now need is download a form ( or head over to a SAMRO office near you to register as a member and enjoy the benefits.

SAMRO Details;
Hotline - 0800 247 247
Email - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
SMS: 45141 @ R1 per SMS

Needletime in short

by Siphesihle Msomi

posa-logo-header Lately needletime has been rather infamous because of its processes and the wait for it to be implemented.  In this article, the focus will be to explain what needletime is for those musicians who may lack understanding.



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