Master KG faces lawsuit for alleged copyright infringement of global hit Jerusalema

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Master KG poses during a photo session in Paris.
Master KG poses during a photo session in Paris.
Photo: Joel Saget/AFP
  • Master KG is being taken to court for alleged copyright infringement of the hit song Jerusalema.
  • According to court papers, Master KG, his record label Open Mic, and music distributor Africori did not control the rights to the song or the master thereof when it was released.
  • Open Mic Productions has confirmed its knowledge of the matter, adding that it is before the court.

Multi-award-winning musician Master KG, real name Kgaogelo Moagi, is facing a lawsuit for alleged copyright infringement of the global hit song Jerusalema.

"We are aware of this; it is a matter that is before the court," Open Mic Productions MD Nkateko Maluleke told to Channel24. "We can't go into further details."

The statement comes after a press statement announced music artists Charmza the DJ and Biblos instituted legal proceedings against Master KG, Open Mic Productions, and music distributor Africori for alleged copyright infringement in respect of the commercialisation and master recording of Jerusalema.

"Court papers filed at the High Court in Pretoria on 08 June 2022 show that the claims are based on allegations that neither Master KG, nor his record label at the time, Open Mic, controlled the rights in the Jerusalema song or the master recording when they commercially released it," the statement says.

"The song was the result of a collaboration between music producer Charmza the DJ, who composed the song, and Nomcebo Zikode, who wrote the lyrics for the song and performed it for the master recording, also produced in studio by Charmza the DJ."

According to the press statement, Master KG invited Charmza the DJ and Nomcebo to his recording studio to work on a new song.

"No contracts were entered into, and no rights clearances were secured from the copyrights owners for Master KG or his record label to release the song and commercialise it under their name only and for their profit only."

"Master KG and Open Mic released the recording of the song without obtaining any rights clearances from the artists who originated the song and produced the recording. They also did not secure a license or clearance from Biblos, who owns the sound recording that was sampled in the track," the statement continued.

In court papers obtained by Channel24, it is alleged that Charmza the DJ created the musical work for Jerusalema while at Master KG’s residence. Nomcebo Zikobe was also invited to the same place to write and perform lyrics to the hit song.

The court papers also allege that Master KG and Open Mic productions "exploited" the copyright works of Charmza the DJ and Biblos for commercial gain since 2019 and reproduced the sound recording without paying Charmza the DJ any royalties.

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