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Kenyan musician violates Tuku's copyright

by Staff reporter
21 Apr 2020 at 07:07hrs | Views
Kenyan musician, Pastor Antony Musembi, has torched a storm after using elements of the late Dr Oliver Mtukudzi's composition "Todii" for his Covid-19 awareness song without seeking permission from copyright holders of the track.

 A video of the song, which was released last Saturday, went viral on social media platforms with many people praising the musician's rendition and taking it as a development that shows Tuku's great influence internationally. But tables turned yesterday afternoon when Tuku Music, the custodians of most of Tuku's composition rights, announced that Pastor Musembi had not sought permission to use the late legend's material for his song, which features Esther Musembi.

Most Tuku music followers and social media commentators expressed disappointment over the Kenyan musician's actions, saying the illegal move was in contrast to his noble cause of spreading awareness about the deadly Covid-19, which has ravaged the world.

The late Oliver Mtukudzi Tuku's "Todii" was composed to raise awareness on HIV and Aids and the Kenyans replaced the lyrics with a message about Covid-19.

"We encourage artistes to follow the correct protocols when they need to use copyright-protected material to avoid unnecessary issues that can arise from violations of these protocols," noted Tuku Music in a statement.

"Pastor Athony Musembi, however, did not seek rights and permission to use the song for the 'COVID -19' awareness cover version for the song 'Todii'." However, Tuku Music noted the musician had expressed willingness to rectify the mistake so that everything is knitted legally.

"He has shown willingness to rectify the mistake and will work with our publishers and legal team to make sure the necessary paperwork is in order. We believe his version of the song will complement efforts to flatten the curve in the fight against Covid-19 in Kenya and in Africa."

Although Tuku Music officials refused to reveal finer details of their communication with Musembi, a source close to the development said they had given the Kenyan musician seven days to redirect his effort through the right channel.

Efforts to get a comment from Musembi were fruitless as he had not responded to questions sent to him by this publication by time of going to print. In an interview over the issue, Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (Zimura) chairperson Albert Nyathi condemned the Kenyan musician's action.

"What this guy did is very wrong. Intellectual property is important to the creator and it should not be used without permission," said Nyathi.

"We understand he was doing it for a good cause of fighting coronavirus, but the way he did it should be condemned. A thief cannot say I have stolen a cow because my children were starving. A situation should never be an excuse for theft.

"However, I believe Tuku Music guys were not hard on Musembi because of the situation, not the act. I understand they are working towards a mutual settlement.

"As Zimura we condemn such acts. Many musicians are doing it and we want them to know that theft of intellectual property is a serious crime."

Pastor Musembi is a popular worship singer in Kenya who has several outstanding songs to his name.

Source - the herald

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