Companies that used 'Jerusalema' on promotional content could be made to pay licensing fees

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Master KG has won the Best African Act award at the MTV EMAs. Image: Master KG Instagram
Master KG has won the Best African Act award at the MTV EMAs. Image: Master KG Instagram

It goes without saying that Master KG and Nomcebo Zikode’s hit-single Jerusalema was the soundtrack of the world in 2020.

The song - which currently sits at over 344 million views on YouTube - gave birth to the #JerusalemaDanceChallenge which took the world by storm.

While many people participated in the challenge and shared their videos online, some companies may find themselves in hot water for not following the correct copyright protocol when using the song on promotional content. 

According to reports, the hit-maker is looking for compensation for those who used the song for commercial purposes without any licensing rights. Warner International, under which Master KG is cosigned, has reportedly sent out letters of demand for licensing fees to organisations that have used the single and the dance challenge for their own commercial gain.

READ MORE | Master KG on winning an MTV EMA Award – “I'd love to thank my sister Nomcebo”

In an interview with Newzroom Afrika, Dumisani Motsamai, an entertainment lawyer who takes care of legal and business affairs at Open Mic Productions - the company that Master KG is signed to - recently revealed that the song and the challenge were never meant to be used to promote big brands and business’ agendas.

"We are not necessarily focused on the social challenges that people were doing in their social set ups - those are well and fine," he said. 

"Our focus will be more on the corporates that took it a little bit too far and used the challenge as more than just a social activity but as an ad, really. The song was there, and the song was used - but it was not so much about the song, and more about the brand. They commercialised the song, so to say. In another words, they endorsed their brand using the song." 

Here’s how people reacted to the news on Twitter:

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