Monday, August 10, 2015


All bars/restaurants/hotels to be charged SR9000 for playing local artists music? If these establishments do not play local artists music they do not have to pay. How this will be monitored is unclear. There was also no explanation letter to these establishments; just an invoice.

Random invoice from SACS with no explanation
Some consider music as the ‘heartbeat of life’, and yet because of the popularity of mainstream music, most people are unfortunately completely oblivious to the local music being produced within our shores.  There are so many benefits that local music events bring to our country and our musicians.  If we are supportive of our musical environment, music has a chance to grow and expand. Musicians and artists are a healthy part of our local economy. When we support them, we are supporting a countless number of business owners and employees.

Which brings me to my point… I  take exception to receiving an invoice in the post from a Society I knew nothing much of previously for something that ‘may or may not’ have been done.  Earlier this month, my elderly parents had quite a shock, when opening an item of post. Enclosed was an invoice for SCR9,000 being ‘Royalty payment to SACS for the year 2015’.

The first question after having a small heart attack at receiving an invoice for such a large amount, was ‘what the heck is this for’?, who on earth is SACS and why are they sending us an invoice for ‘Royalty Payments’ – we don’t even know where to find them or who they are. To add frustration to the insult of receiving this invoice, is that there is no explanation – nothing to say as to what we are due to pay this Royalty Payment for… what we have done to quantify us paying such a large amount to SACS, and what these funds are to be utilised for.

SACS is an acronym for Seychelles Artists and Composers Society, so one would think that perhaps we have used someone’s music or some such without going through the necessary channels… Attached to the invoice are copies from the Government Gazette – eight pages detailing the existence of copyright laws in Seychelles -  all well and good, but what are we paying SCR9,000 for?

First action would be to contact the telephone number on the invoice, which proved to be useless as ‘this number is not available at present’, the next would be to send them an email asking for an explanation, this too was useless as the email came back unsent – ‘The email address you entered couldn't be found.’ So Super-Sleuth me began to investigate further. I made some telephone calls to friends and associates, all of whom knew nothing. A few days later calls started coming back, many other hotels and restaurants have received the same invoice with only the name on the invoice (and invoice number) being changed.

The ‘Hotel Association’ was contacted and the response from them was as such

‘Apparently, SACS sends out these invoices to all establishments which may play copyrighted music for their guests (in their restaurants / bars or rooms etc)

If you do not play any music for your guests, you are to email them on the address stated on the invoice and advise them so, and they will take it from there.’

Well yeah! Well and good… their email address ‘cannot be found’…

So now the question is posed: Does this mean I can send out invoices to all and sundry just because they ‘may’ have utilized my services, so I can send you, dear reader, an invoice for reading this blog because I now put a © ‘copyright’ on it… so I can now reap in SCR9,000 from each of you… good scam! Now YOU have to prove that YOU have not read my blog or you must pay my invoice!

To all those local artists out there producing music… do you not wish for your music to be played and promoted? Because my thought on this is as such… the international market is HUGE.. Far greater than the local one… If I have a restaurant or a hotel or a guest house - whatever and there are tourists visiting my establishment and I play your music, in the background – surely I’ve bought your music, and I must enjoy it enough to play it for my guests, who more than likely will enjoy it too, and ask me who this artist is… and I can proudly say… ‘its one of our own’… more than likely that tourist who has been having a wonderful time in our beautiful islands will want to purchase your music, as a remembrance of their time here. They go home and play it for friends and family or at their office, and hey! What do know… you’re getting international exposure that one song being played in a little establishment is now selling 500+ copies for you…

Oh no! Wait hold on… this is not going to happen!


Well because of SACS action of invoicing all and sundry for ‘Royalties’ regardless of if royalties are actually due, you will not get the exposure, as establishments are too afraid to play your music as there is nice hefty bill of SCR9,000 at the end of each year ‘just-in-case’ we have infringed on copyright, and this just simply as we may or may not have played your music that may or may not be copyrighted.

SACS… if you want to invoice someone for something…

1.Ensure that they should be billed for what you are billing them for

 2.Tell them exactly what your bill is for

 3.Make sure your contacts on your invoice are valid and actually EXIST!

 We fully understand if a video is displayed on YouTube or someone’s website is using an artist’s music without permission, then the normal etiquette would be to contact the persons involved and advise them of the infringement, request them to rectify the situation and if nothing is done THEN send them a bill for the royalties.

In the case of bootlegging, well this has become part of life, many would rather not pay for what they could get for free, until a way is found that makes it impossible to copy music without paying for it, this will continue to happen, but sending out bulk invoices is a case of ‘cutting off your nose in spite of your face’, because those who should be supporting you, are too afraid to. Why are you penalizing the folks who are in the best position to help you?