Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Song Recording in South Africa

Dear Rich: I am in South Africa (where the copyright act is 21 pages of legal jargon) and my husband and I are looking at recording a Christmas CD of tracks like Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, The Christmas Song, Let It Snow, Winter Wonderland, along with public domain carols such as Silent Night, etc. We will probably not even do more that 300 units and we would like to go about it the right way. What would the copyright issues be on non-public domain songs and where does one even begin looking? I'm so glad you asked. Although our blog focuses on U.S. law, the Dear Rich staff is happy to look into international rules (even if it does take three months to answer your query!). In South Africa, as in the U.S., any reproductions of songs on physical media (like CDs) requires that you obtain a compulsory mechanical license. The amount you pay per CD is set by the South African government. The easiest way to get the license appears to be using this form (PDF) which is processed by SAMRO (South African Music Rights Organization). You can find more South African musical resources here