RECORDING INDUSTRY OF SOUTH AFRICA (RiSA)
The Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA) is a trade association representing the collective interests of producers of music sound recordings in Sound Africa.
RiSA was formally known as ASAMI (Association of the South African Music Industry). The organisation was created in the 1970's to represent the interests of a broader cross-section of music industry stakeholders and included manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers and distributors. For the past approximately 15 years, however, membership of RiSA has been confined in practice (if not in terms of its own statutes) to what are popularly known "record companies".
Any record company which chooses to apply for membership will, in practice, be accepted as a member of RiSA. The organisation has various rules and procedures which govern membership, but in practice no applicant for membership has ever been rejected and no current member has ever been expelled from the organisation. RiSA, increasingly, has defined itself as being a broadly based organisation which represents a wide variety and diversity of views and interests. RiSA's policy is to always seek to accommodate diversity within its ranks and structures.
Ultimate control of the organisation is vested in the members in annual general meeting. The RiSA annual general meeting elects an executive of twelve members. No company or group of companies may have more than two representatives on the executive board. The executive board elects its own chairperson. The chairperson, in consultation with and on the advice of the executive board, appoints various executive members and other member representatives to serve on a variety of sub-committees - Finance, Anti-Piracy, Local Music, South African Music Awards, Business Affairs and Broadcasting. These sub-committees report directly to the executive committee through the duly elected chairman.
RiSA is primarily funded through the payment of levies on sound carrier products that are manufactured, imported or otherwise acquired. RiSA currently has more than 600 members. In a primary sense, all members have equal status with one primary vote in general meetings. However, additional votes are allocated to members in accordance with their financial contributions to the organisation, by payment of a levy on all units of cassettes, CDs and DVDs that are either manufactured, acquired or imported into South Africa.
The organisation itself and the executive board and the sub-committees are served by a full time secretariat comprising seven people and the RiSA Anti-Piracy Unit (RAPU). The executive board meets on a monthly basis. The sub-committees are also expected to meet on a monthly basis and to report on their activities to the executive board through the secretariat.
RiSA is recognised by the International Federation for the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) as the official National Group for the Recording Industry in South Africa. IFPI is itself recognised by UNESCO as the global representative of the recoding industry. As the recognised National Group for the recording industry for South Africa, RiSA enjoys international recognition - not least with the governments of surrounding Southern African countries which are themselves members of the United Nations Organisation. Such recognition is of significance not only in relation to trading matters but, particularly, in relation to anti-piracy activities.
Membership of RiSA entitles a member to various benefits:
- To have its repertoire protected by the RAPU to the extent that the unit is able to do so. The RAPU is obviously only entitled to carry out its work on behalf of members and in regard to counterfeit products that violate the copyrights of members. RiSA members are required to support the RAPU in regard to proving chain of title in regard to their intellectual property rights which have been infringed by the manufacture of counterfeit products.
- Entering their releases for the annual South African Music Awards at a preferential rate compared to non-members.
- Using the services of RiSA/RAV in order to participate in the licensing of their video products to broadcasters and other.
- RiSA members are required to operate subject to a Code of Conduct. RiSA members or artists contracted to RiSA members are entitled to refer disputes or issues to RiSA which they believe are subject to the provisions of the Code of Conduct and RiSA endeavours to resolve such issues through mediation when it is possible to do so.
- Legal advice on a variety of matters affecting their business is regularly requested from RiSA's secretariat by a large number of members. Such advice is rendered free of charge although members are obviously required to consult their own legal advisors in relation to specific disputes or litigation.
- Being part of industry recognition agreements with representative bodeis of copyright holders like NORM and SARRAL. If a record company is not a member, the company will have to negoatiate with these entities individually regarding a mechanical transfer rate.