Music has been around for a long time now, but since the arrival of computers, it became very easy to steal others’ work. So today, copyright plays an important role for musicians. People say that the music industry is built on copyrights. If you don’t have it, then you have zero protection.
South African musicians don’t even get compensation if their music is used somewhere else. They don’t have copyright and lose their chance to earn rewards as well. South African singer Tebogo Sithathu was once a part of a group named The Twins. He has now resigned from his post as a spokesperson of the South African Music Industry Council.
Solomon Linda’s Mbube song
People are unaware that Disney Lion King’s popular song named The Lion Sleeps Tonight is copied from the original Mbube by Solomon Linda (1909-1962). Sithathu and Andrew Rens (copyright lawyer) studied how Linda was exploited and prepared a case study, ‘the Solomon Linda story.’
Linda had signed a deed in which he was paid only 10 shillings. Sadly, even after fighting a legal battle, Linda’s three daughters couldn’t help his father to gain recognition worldwide. They didn’t even receive compensation and royalties, which would have helped his family in tough times. It’s really sad to say that he died in poverty.
This music industry is like a leech, and it is sucking the talented South African musicians dry. Many people are questioning Disney after realizing the truth, but even if Linda created the song, Jersey-based Abilene Music owns the copyright to the song. If this continues to happen with other musicians in South Africa, the industry will fall.
South African president Cyril Ramaphosa finally signed a copyright bill
Every country is struggling and fighting the coronavirus pandemic. During this crucial time, some musicians are unable to receive royalties from all over the globe for their songs. So recently, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa signed a copyright bill. It was sitting on his table for fourteen months. Moreover, the Bill was passed in March 2019.
Sithatu revealed that Ramaphosa was pressured by the U.S. big recording companies to not sign the bill. Moreover, the U.S. also threatened the president with the trade embargo and other things. His hesitation clearly shows the power of the entertainment and music industry on South African artists. The U.S. continued to send trade threats to South Africa.
Some sources even reveal, the president did not sign in initially due to fear of spoiling trade relations with the U.S. And the main reason for Sithathu’s resignation was that his group had issues with the copyright bill. He is one of the most honest artists in South Africa. He stated that most of the council is working under American multinational (corporations), and they are representing those companies.
They did not want the president to sign the copyright bill. Rens revealed that the situation could have been under control if he had signed the bill. Also, the South African musicians could have received at least a minimum royalty.
Let’s hope these musicians get what they deserve and reach more audiences. Come back soon to our website for more awesome news!