Jah Signal, Charambas copyright infringement case rages

Source: Jah Signal, Charambas copyright infringement case rages -Newsday Zimbabwe

The Charambas have successfully caused YouTube to pull down Jah Signal’s renditions of their two songs which he recorded without their consent.

GOSPEL super couple Baba Charles and Amai Oliver Charamba says its copyright tiff with dancehall singer Jah Signal is not meant to stifle the latter’s musical career, but to expose how artistes often end up short-changed because most of them are unaware of laws governing the industry.

The Charambas have successfully caused YouTube to pull down Jah Signal’s renditions of their two songs which he recorded without their consent.

On Thursday, Jah Signal, real name Nicodimus Mutize, had his two songs Shinga Muroora and Tengai Mafuta abruptly pulled down from YouTube following a copyright claim filed by the Charambas and Fishers of Men.

The song Shinga Muroora had about six million views on YouTube, an American online video-sharing and social media platform owned by Google and accessible worldwide.

It is a rendition of Charamba’s song, Kana Vanhu Vangu, off the album Exodus released in 2001.

Charamba was against the release of this song by Jah Signal in 2018 in a clear infringement of copyright laws.

In September last year, Jah Signal again released another song Tengai Mafuta, a remix of Mai Charamba’s song of the same title off the album The Gospel released in 2007.

“No consent was sought, no consent was granted and for us, this was a very clear infringement of copyright laws. For both songs, he did not acknowledge the original composer which is the norm. There’s also a breach of moral rights,” the Charambas said in a statement.

“We are not more special than anyone in God’s eyes. Anyone can ask for our song if they want to reproduce it just like what Dr Tawanda has done to Tauya Kuzomutenda. We do not claim to own any word from the Bible, but we have rights to the melodies on which those words sit. It is allowed for all of us to sing the same verse of the Bible, it is God’s Word.”

The Charambas said as gospel music elders they wish Jah Signal well in his career.

“We have no desire to see him fail. We have never declined engagement with him. We are currently making efforts to avoid a third strike even after we noticed his channel still has the infringed songs. We are keen to communicate or engage him so that we can together protect his channel from being closed,” the Charambas noted.

“We have not been cruel to Jah Signal. We have actually been victims of copyright infringement. As mentioned, we are working to avoid another pending strike, which may cause his channel to be deleted.”

The Charambas said fellow artistes and music managers should always guard against copyright infringement, seek and obtain consent, and acknowledge copyrights, adding that this will always avoid complications that may arise or wrong perceptions.

Several artistes, according to the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (Zimura), are unaware of copyright and intellectual property rights laws and, as a result, end up either prejudiced or committing intellectual property crimes.

“Very few local artistes understand copyright law even though Zimura runs free copyright workshops all year round throughout the country. Some artistes never attend to learn about intellectual property rights, yet continue to infringe others’ intellectual property rights,” Zimura executive director Polisile Ncube-Chimhini told NewsDay Weekender.

“Some local artistes in the likes of the Charambas and a few others do understand their copyright as they took time to understand the subject in the interests of monetising their intellectual property. Others have not taken a kin interest in laws, but this is very detrimental to their musical career.

“Copyright is a very complex subject and I implore artists to take time to attend our workshops, visit our office or our social media handles @zimuraonline so that they will never be found wanting and will avoid infringing others’ copyright altogether.”

NewsDay Weekender failed to obtain a comment from Jah Signal.