ZIMURA await Charambas-Jah Signal agreement details . . . hosts copyright awareness workshop Alexio Gwenzi

Arts Reporter

The Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (ZIMURA) has said there was nothing it could do with regards the copyright feud between Zimdancehall singer Jah Signal and gospel musician Pastor Charles Charamba, since no formal approach had been made.

Many music lovers had been querying ZIMURA on what it was doing to protect musicians and curb copyright infringement.

In an interview with The Herald Arts, ZIMURA director of Information, Media and Publicity, Alexio Gwenzi, said they were yet to hear from the two parties (Jah Signal and the Charambas) on how they had settled the case.

He said with the Copyright Act, the two parties are supposed to agree on royalties first before ZIMURA could interfere.

“People were celebrating what was wrong,” said Gwenzi. “In this case, the royalties issue was settled between Jah and the Charambas, depending on what the two agreed on. We have not received any split sheet yet concerning the works in question. A split sheet tells us who gets what percentage in a work.”

Gwenzi said ZIMURA could not interfere in a case settled amicably between the two parties.

“That issue was solved by the copyright holders themselves, the type of infringement involved also included moral rights which permanently reside with the copyright holder,” he said.

“The lesson learnt there is that permission should always be sought to use another artiste’s works to avoid legal actions and the music is not for free, if you use it you should pay the price, whether you are a shop, restaurant, bar or broadcaster or a fellow artiste.” 

Gwenzi said it was not proper how p social media celebrated and promoted copyright infringement.

He said artistes should respect and understand much about the Copyright Act as ZIMURA licenses business premises like hotels, shops, restaurants and broadcasters to use music legally and pay royalties to the artistes.

“No one and no business or organisation is  permitted to use an artiste’s work for free, they have to obtain a licence from us first or get the consent of the artiste or creator first. 

“It is illegal and the public should desist from using music that does not belong to them otherwise they face arrest and this includes fellow artistes.” 

Jah Signal has since publicly apologised to the gospel couple, The Charambas, following the copyright dispute which resulted in a strike on YouTube for Jah Signal’s music.

The Charambas claimed that Jah Signal’s songs, “Shinga Muroora” and “Tengai Mafuta,” were unauthorised remixes of their own songs and had them removed from YouTube.

When contacted for comment, Pastor Charamba said they were making a follow-up over the issue.

“For now we are working on the Copyright Act and it (Jah Signal’s music) should be discontinued completely (from Youtube). We will then see what’s the next procedure,” he said.

He said they had solved the case on their own without the involvement of ZIMURA.

Meanwhile, ZIMURA has released the 2024 Copyright Awareness workshop calendar, which will be hosted throughout the year.

“We run free copyright workshops throughout the country, the first one for 2024 will be in two weeks time to be held in Mutare and we will move around the country every month until December 2024,” he said.

“We also constantly post copyright information on our social media handles, besides doing radio and television programmes. We strongly urge all musicians (members and non-members), and business owners to attend these workshops to get a better understanding of music copyright and related issues. The venues will be announced.”

The dates for the workshops are as follows: March 12 (Manicaland- Mutare), March 27 (Midlands- Gweru) and May 23 (Masvingo).

On June 26, ZIMURA takes the workshop to Victoria Falls, covering Matabeleland North and the following month, July 25, they will be in Bulawayo for some parts of Matabeleland.

The programme then comes to Harare on August 7 and then continues to Chinhoyi (Mashonaland West) on August 28, with Marondera in Mashonaland East on September 25 and Bindura in Mashonaland Central on October 23.

The workshop then closes on November 20, in Matabeleland South.

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