Sampra lays criminal charges against owners of La Parada and Tiger’s Milk over unpaid royalties

La Parada Olivedale Corner launch. Picture: Instagram/laparadalifestyle

La Parada Olivedale Corner launch. Picture: Instagram/laparadalifestyle

Published Mar 4, 2024


The South African Music Performance Rights Association (Sampra) has laid criminal charges against the owners of the popular La Parada, Tiger’s Milk and Old Town Italy restaurant brands, for failure to pay music licence fees related to its members.

Sampra opened a criminal case at the Woodstock police station against the Life and Brand Portfolio restaurant group, which also owns Harbour House, Live Bait, and Lucky Fish and Chips.

The music rights organisation argues that the establishments have been playing their members music to audiences around the country, but they have failed to make any payments for doing so.

Artists exploited

Sampra chief executive Pfanani Lishivha said the organisation had a duty to ensure that artists get what is due to them. She said they could not stand by while artists were being exploited.

Lishivha revealed that they had been in negotiations with the restaurant chain group for the past four years, but talks have not been fruitful.

“Litigation is not our preferred approach when it comes to licensing music users. It really is a last resort.

“We cannot, in good conscience, allow businesses to exploit musicians while we stand by and watch. Musicians also have families to support and financial obligations to meet. If we do nothing, we will have failed an extremely vulnerable group of people,” said Lishivha.

Wide reach

The Life and Brand Portfolio owned restaurants have a significant footprint around the country, with their Tiger’s Milk brand in Gauteng having popular branches in Fourways, Bedfordview, Northcliff, Melrose Arch, Randburg and five more branches in the province.

In the Western Cape, there are 12 franchises including Blouberg, Century City and on Long Street. There are only three branches in KwaZulu Natal, including one in uMhlanga and another in Westville.

In the case of the La Parada brand, it has been growing fast, with franchises being opened in various locations across the country.

In Gauteng there are ten branches including Nelson Mandela Square, Parkmore, Menlyn Maine, Rosebank, Olivedale and Waterfall Corner.

In KZN there are two branches; Umhlanga Ridge and Suncoast, while in the Western Cape there are four branches; V&A Waterfront, Century City, Constantia Nek and Kloof Street.

“These restaurants have been playing music belonging to recording artists and recording companies at their stores, unlawfully. They have refused to pay the applicable fees that would enable them to comply with the prescribed legislative provisions,” said Lishivha, fighting for artists.

“This effectively means that the artists whose music is used by these restaurants will not be able to earn Needletime Rights royalties, even though these restaurants are making money in their restaurants as a result of using their intellectual property.”

The news of the legal action has sparked mixed reactions from the public, with some hoping that it sets an example for businesses hoping to escape the payment of royalties.

IOL Entertainment has approached the Life and Brand Portfolio for comment. This article will be updated upon their response.

IOL Entertainment