FEDHASA seeking legal counsel on SAMRO’s new proposed TV fees 

SAMRO, the music rights organisation, has recently started requesting that accommodation providers pay an additional annual fee for each TV set in hotel rooms.  FEDHASA is currently seeking legal counsel on the matter and has posed questions to SAMRO, which have not been fully answered. Until the legality is determined, FEDHASA recommends that members who receive a SAMRO invoice, confirm that they are a FEDHASA member. SAMRO is aware that FEDHASA is seeking additional clarity and have been instructed to contact FEDHASA directly regarding this matter.  

FEDHASA has posed the below questions to SAMRO, which have not been clearly addressed:

  1. Accommodation providers are already paying the SABC for an annual licence per TV in each guest’s room and in some cases also a monthly fee to MultiChoice for the use of music channels as well as TV channels. If accommodation providers are already paying monthly fees and an annual fee for the use of music and other content on the room’s TVs – wouldn’t this new idea of SAMRO’s now of charging per room – be ‘double dipping’ or ‘triple dipping’? Accommodation providers are already being charged by service providers (MultiChoice and SABC) for music content and films in their broadcasts and presumably MultiChoice and SABC are paying you. Are they? Can you explain why this is not double or triple dipping.
  1. Watching TV or listening to music in one’s hotel room… is not public viewing of a film or music like public viewing in a cinema, pub, restaurant. Your website refers to your fees when there is ‘public’ viewing. One or two people viewing or listening to something in their hotel room is not public. It is private viewing of something that the accommodation provider has paid for via the SABC or MultiChoice for them to watch/listen to. How are these facts not accurate?
  1.  Some accommodation providers do not use MultiChoice and only have smart TVs which guests can use to access their own Netflix, Apple etc. contracts. This is not public access to music, it is personal access by one or two people to a streamed TV service to access a film. Do the film producers pay SAMRO or organisations related to you who you receive funds from? Are you charging Netflix/Apple for any music in their films or related organisations who you receive funding from?
  1. After all the years of paying SAMRO licences – why now has SAMRO felt it is their legal right to charge per hotel room?
  1. What has changed that SAMRO now feels they can charge per hotel room, when it was not done in the past?
  1. The SAMRO website (which we have copied), does not include any reference to the hotel rooms category being included in SAMRO fees. Please explain this.

Should you receive a SAMRO invoice, please advise SAMRO that you are a FEDHASA member as they are aware that we are seeking legal counsel on this matter. 

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