Forever refutes claims on copyright of TV advert

For Immediate Release
22 October 2103

Forever Resorts, Lodges, Hotels and Retreats have publicly denounces claims by Mr James Stewart that the company has illegally made use of a song he composed as part of their recent TV and Cinema campaign.

Mr Stewart has embarked on a negative campaign on social media, claiming that Forever Resorts refused to make payment for the use of the theme-song “Looking for a world” which the group used as background to their campaign and that Forever Resorts has made unlawful use of the song. “Our company, through our agency who produced the advert, approached Street Level Music Productions CC (the studio that recorded the song) in 2006 to acquire the rights to use the song for our Cinema campaign. An invoice for R25 000 excluding VAT was submitted and paid,” says Christo Wagenaar, Marketing Executive of Forever Resorts. This was for writing/recording and producing of the soundtrack and 1 year of licensing for broadcasting of the song.

The campaign had its run, and during 2012 the Company decided to again run an advertising campaign in Cinema and on National TV. The company approached some of the local musicians which it supported through-out many years to write them a backtrack recording. “However, it was decided to stick to the original backtrack that we used as we were comfortable in using it.”  The company embarked with negotiations with Street Level Music Productions which is owned by Mr Stewart and Mr Chris Tait in equal shares.  A price of R10 000 was negotiated and paid for the acquisition of all rights in the song, for all types of media. This buy-out was confirmed in a written agreement.

Forever Resorts embarked on their campaign and it rolled out successfully. During this period, Mr Stewart, through his legal representatives, objected to the use of the Theme Song. Forever Resorts referred the matter to Adams and Adams Attorneys, which corresponded with Mr Stewart’s representatives. 

The advertising campaign concluded its full run. Forever Resorts, on advice of their attorneys, holds the position that all rights were duly and legally obtained and has documentary proof to this effect. Mr Stewart has in this process indicated that he was in pursuit of a further R650 000 for the use of less than 30 seconds of the song.

“We sincerely regret that a business partnership between the composer, Mr James Stewart and his partner in their recording studio (to which he holds 50% share) apparently went sour. This was not due to our making and we expected that Mr Stewart would pursue his remedies against his business partner. Forever Resorts acquired the relevant rights in the track in good faith and in a lawful manner and is not liable to Mr Stewart for any additional payment. It is regrettable that Mr Stewart finds himself in this predicament, but it is irresponsible of him to suggest that Forever Resorts somehow acquired the rights in the song in an unlawful manner from an individual that he conveniently and misleadingly refers to as “the dude”. This “dude” is, in fact, Mr Stewart’s business partner and co-owner of the recording studio that sold the rights to us.” said Wagenaar.

“We as a company is well recognised by a large section of the local music industry for our support of South African musicians and artists and will continue to contribute to the growth of this industry. Our Resorts are all SAMPRA and SAMRO registered and pay our dues as responsible business should do.

The upcoming Oppiplaas Festival at Badplaas, a Forever Resort combined with our Summer Holiday programme where many artists will perform at our Resorts bears testimony to this. It is a concern that a section of the public jumped on this “band-wagon” without the full facts. Instead of fighting the wrong party, perhaps it would have been better for this individual to rather come perform at our Resorts and realise exactly how much we support and contribute to the local music industry,” he concluded.


Issued by:         Christo Wagenaar
On behalf of:
     Forever Resorts, Lodges, Hotels and Retreats.
           Tel: (012) 423 5636

Contract between Forever Resorts SA (PTY) Ltd. and Street Level Music Productions

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