SAMRO is mourning the death of Bee Gees legend Robin Gibb, who was also a tireless campaigner for musicians’ rights. Gibb was a fierce and devoted advocate for protecting songwriters’ intellectual property in his capacity as president of the International Confederation of Authors and Composers (CISAC), of which SAMRO is a member. He had headed up the organisation since 2007.
The iconic British singer-songwriter, who with his brothers Barry and Maurice crafted a succession of hit songs that formed the soundtrack to so many lives, lost his brave battle with cancer on Sunday night, aged 62. Senior SAMRO employees have held key portfolios at CISAC in recent years and have worked closely with Gibb in championing the rights of authors and creators of music on a global scale. SAMRO CEO Nick Motsatse, who is the vice-chairman of CISAC’s Board of Directors, remembers his interactions with Gibb with affection.
“One of my favourite quotes from Robin was: ‘Collecting societies give us the space to create.’” He said that Gibb had made immeasurable strides in highlighting collecting societies’ pivotal role as custodians of authors’ rights. He had also enthusiastically used his profile to influence global policy makers to promote and uphold the value of copyright, particularly in countries where it was under threat.
CISAC director-general Olivier Hinnewinkel said the global creative community was deeply shocked and saddened by Gibb’s passing: “Robin Gibb was not only the voice of a generation, but undertook with relentless determination to represent and defend the cause of authors’ rights around the world.
“Robin was known all around the world as a great songwriter and artist, but he was less well known as an active defender of the rights of creators. Robin Gibb was always incredibly generous with his time as he relentlessly fought for the cause of authors and their rights.” As CISAC president for the past five years, Gibb was also the voice of three million creators around the world as the leader of the members of CISAC’s 232 authors’ societies in 121 countries. Following his re-election in June 2010, Gibb said that as a songwriter, he was a passionate believer in the collective management of rights by authors’ societies. “While the entire entertainment sector is at a crossroads, I want to leverage this new mandate to help develop a rights management system that is sustainable in the digital age, a system that meets public demand for easy access to all our works while preserving the rights and interests of everyone, including fair payment for creators to use their works,” he said.
During his tenure as CISAC president, Gibb strongly defended the copyright system, challenging big business and governments whenever they argued that author copyright stifled commercial development. His interventions regularly featured on the global news agenda and frequently effected policy change. His last official engagement for CISAC was at the World Copyright Summit in Brussels in June 2011.
Gibb said that authors should be “cherished and nurtured as such”, adding poignantly: “I’m proud to be president of CISAC, and I will keep on fighting for creators’ rights as long as I can draw breath.” SAMRO joins the global music community and legions of Gibb’s fans in extending its heartfelt sympathy to Dwina, his wife, and to his family.
Share your tributes on Facebook (SAMROSouthAfrica) and Twitter (@SAMROMusic). Robin Gibb, singer-songwriter, President of CISAC, 1949-2012
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