DALRO urges creative artists to sign up with reputable organisations

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The Dramatic Artistic & Literary Rights Organisation (DALRO) is urging creative artists to ensure they sign up with reputable organisations
to protect their copyrighted works. By invoking the Copyright Act of South Africa, artists can have their work protected.

But an artist is not well positioned to ensure that their works are used in accordance with the law at all times. Artists are generally financially vulnerable, because of the nature of their product and the reliance on people having surplus cash to buy their works, especially in this current economic environment.

DALRO, is an agency that looks after the copyrighted work of creative people. These include authors, actors and artists.

Established in 1966, the aim was to ensure that artists works were not abused or over used without the artist’s permission and ensuring
that the artist is paid their dues for their work. DALRO extracts a reasonable fee for the service.

DALRO says it represents artists whose works have either been published, exhibited or sold and says failure to register with a reputable company to guard one’s copyright means the potential loss of significant income.

“They leave a lot of money on the table. The users generally don’t go out looking for the artists. They need what they need to use because of time, because of pressure and then when they come to us, unfortunately if we don’t represent that artist, we have to tell them that we don’t and therefore they don’t try to find the artist. If we do represent the artist, then we’ll collect and give the artist their money, so the danger is that if you’re not represented by either us or some professional entity, then you’re not going to be compensated for the use of your work generally speaking,” explains Lazarus Serobe, the managing director at DARLO.

DALRO’s currently facilitating the Motions and Motives group art exhibition at its gallery in Bramley, Johannesburg. It’s the combined works of artists who’ve been nurtured by the Blessing Ngobeni Art Prize Foundation.

One of the artists whose works were on display was Treasure Mlima. He says being a registered member of DALRO means he doesn’t need to worry so much about the commercial side of his creations, giving him more time to focus on the art itself.

He also admits that the life of an up and coming artist isn’t easy as one has to do what they must to make ends meet.

“Because we’re in SA and the economy is tight, I do now bring balance through having a 9 to 5 and then also pursuing my art career, so it’s actually more work but it’s necessary because of the circumstances we currently find ourselves in.”

The Blessing Ngobeni Art Prize Foundation has existed for a number of years. It’s purpose: to do its bit to incubate and grow young artists into sustainable artists.

While good work is being done to elevate young artistic talent in some quarters, Lazarus Serobe lamented the current Copyright Amendment Bill — currently sitting in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s pile of Bills to be signed into law — which has been rejected by members of the arts, as they view it as a piece of legislation that will subtract economic power from artists, not add to it.

DALRO urges creative artists to protect their copyrighted works: