By Munashe Makuwe
POPULAR Kenyan worship singer Antony Musembi has landed in trouble facing intellectual property theft allegations after he reproduced the late world-acclaimed musician Oliver Mtukudzi’s song, Todii without permission.
The video of the reproduced song was released last Saturday and went viral on social media platforms with many people praising the musician’s rendition and Tuku’s great influence internationally.
The reproduced song raises awareness on the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic while the original song was composed for the HIV/Aids campaigns.
However, Musembi is facing fresh challenges after it emerged that he reproduced the song without seeking permission from copyright holders of the track.
Tuku Music, the custodians of most of Tuku’s composition rights, announced that Musembi had not sought permission to use the late legend’s material for his song.
Fans of the late Zimbabwean singer and social media commentators expressed disappointment over the Kenyan musician’s actions, saying the illegal move was in contrast to his noble cause of spreading COVID-19 awareness.
“We encourage artistes to follow the correct protocols when they need to use copyright-protected material to avoid unnecessary issues that can arise from violations of these protocols,” noted Tuku Music in a statement.
“Pastor Anthony Musembi did not seek rights and permission to use the song for the ‘COVID -19’ awareness cover version for the song ‘Todii’.”
“We have listened to his version of the song and we understand that it will help raise awareness in Kenya where Pastor Anthony Musembi is from and possibly to other parts of Africa. Dr. Mtukudzi considered himself an African musician who just happened to have been born in Zimbabwe and Kenya was and will always be home to Tuku Music,” Tuku Music stated in a statement.
“He (Musembi) has shown willingness to rectify the mistake and will work with our publishers and legal team to make sure the necessary paperwork is in order. We believe his version of the song will complement efforts to flatten the curve in the fight against COVID-19 in Kenya and in Africa.” Tuku Music stated.
“What this guy did is very wrong. Intellectual property is important to the creator and it should not be used without permission,” said one fan of Mtukudzi who only identified himself as Nyathi.
“However, I believe Tuku Music guys were not hard on Musembi because of the situation, not the act. I understand they are working towards a mutual settlement.”
Mtukudzi died in 2019 and was declared a national hero.