Protecting your copyright: Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS)

The Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS) was commissioned and became fully operational in November 2011. In 2012 the registration of members, together with licensing of users, began leading to a successful distribution of royalties in 2014. COSBOTS is mandated by the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act – CAP6802 of 2006 to, among others, license and collect royalties from users of copyright protected works, to distribute them to copyright owners.

This interview was conducted with Mr Letlhogonolo Makwinja, the CEO of COSBOTS.

Why should writers register with Cosbots?

We make sure you receive the money you’re entitled to as a writer when someone copies or uses your work. We collect money from all over the world, then pay it to our members.

When you sign a publishing contract, you are granting the publisher permission to exploit (i.e., to publish and distribute for profit) some or all of your rights for a defined period of time. Generally, when publishing a book, the author will grant the publisher a license.

The author can also assign copyright to the publisher (copyright transfer agreement). In signing a copyright transfer agreement, the author grants all their rights as author and copyright holder to the publisher.

What is one common misconception about Cosbots that you’d like to correct?

COSBOTS is a secondary rights player in the collection of royalties. Which simply translates that primary rights is where artists are supposed to make the big monies. Collecting societies are only functional on possible infringement of rights and those are places that artists will normally not know. So, it’s small monies by its nature but people expect to get rich from secondary rights and pay less attention to making sure that the primary rights are worthwhile.

How does a writer register with Cosbots?

Visit cosbots.com and download registration documents or visit the office.

Contained within copyright is the entire bundle of rights that an author can grant to others or utilize him/herself.

You can lean more about COSBOTS and how to register here.

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