The Southern African Music Rights Organisation (Samro) could have withheld royalty payments to musicians of up to R1.5bn over the past 50 years. The collective management organisation that licenses the rights of members’ songs reported that R449.3m was collected in 2016 and R298.9m distributed to members. But it has a tiered system of payments and historically black musicians have not received the full benefit of their work. As a member of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers, Samro has the monopoly right in SA to issue the International Standard Musical Work Code, a global reference standard for identifying musical works, and the Interested Party Name number used to identify every interested party in a song. The members’ global database is accessed using CIS-Net, which allows users to view authorship and ownership claims, the splits and other metadata for almost every registered work in the world. "Access to CIS-Net is restricted and tightly control...

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