Some local companies yesterday panicked after speculation that South African musician, Master KG’s was suing companies that infringed his copyright by conducting the Jerusalema challenge.
The song which trended last year and put the musician on the international map, saw many people and companies joining the challenge.
His associates, Warner Music, have written to many organisations in Germany demanding license fees amounting to several thousand euros in some cases, according to Focus Weekly News Magazine.
Warner Music Group Corp, (WMG) is an American multinational entertainment and record label conglomerate headquartered in New York City.
It is one of the “big three” recording companies and the third-largest in the global music industry, after Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment.
What then does this entail for Zimbabweans that took up the Jerusalema challenge?
So popular is the challenge that revellers from as far as Spain, Jamaica, England, Brazil, Nigeria, Ghana and France joined the challenge.
Even international celebrities like footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and singer Janet Jackson were among those who did the challenge.
Back home, corporates and individuals, are on the list.
Those targeted are the ones who did not acknowledge copyright. Ironically Master KG himself twitted and retweetted some of the videos.
Members of the public who used the song for a bit of fun do not have to worry too much, but those who used it for their own endorsements are in for a rude awakening.
Surprisingly, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was quoted on September 16 2020, saying; “There can be no better way to celebrate our South Africanness than joining the global phenomenon that is spreading across the world, and that is the Jerusalema dance challenge. So I urge all of you to take up this challenge.”
With that in mind, many people took up the challenge. On the social media, the challenge amassed over 300 million views on YouTube.
According to EyeWitnessNews, Warner International sent royalty invoices to various video owners in Germany, sparkingan outcry on social media and it caused panic.
“The music giant charged various German government entities for using the song in their versions of the challenge,”.
Eyewitness News spoke to Dumisani Motsamai, an entertainment lawyer who is in charge of the legal and business affairs for Open Mic Productions — that’s Master KG and Nomcebo Zikode’s record label.
He said some people took the challenge for their own gains.
“We have followed the news that Warner, our partners internationally, has actually been taken to task by many people on social media saying ‘you guys are being greedy, we are doing this thing because of social [distancing], we are all down because of Covid-19’, and I think it’s quite on point.
“But there have been different versions of this challenge. There are situations where a child and their family are in their living room and they are doing the challenge, or they are outside and doing the challenge.
“That’s perfectly fine. But we have seen these challenges taking it a little bit too far. What has been happening here is that people have been pushing their brands,” he said.
Back home a survey conducted revealed that some local companies panicked and immediately pulled down their videos.
The debate raged on social media.
Local Intellectual property lawyer Brenda Matanga wrote on her Twitter account, where she highlighted some copyright infringement complications.
She even warned that Warner Music are not yet done claiming the license fees from participants of the challenge, and said that the liberties that people once enjoyed with the challenge may have finally come to an end.
“In October last year,we shared our article about the copyright infringement implications of the worldwide Jerusalema challenge, where we gave a warning that the unlicensed use of copyright would not go on for long.”
“…the global audience has been granted an open license of Jerusalema song and only in 2020 can the world freely share, dance and record themselves whilst they are at it. Be careful though, those liberties will not be extended…” she said.
However, contacted for comment some local companies professed ignorance over Master KG’s moves.
Some said that the musician will create enemies globally resulting in his music played only in South Africa. The Herald.