Jah Prayzah will not be stripped of creativity award

5
71
Jah-Prayzah

THE National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) has said it would not strip popular Afro-pop singer Mukudzei Mukombe, better known as Jah Prayzah, of the best creativity award he scooped at the 2014 National Arts Merit Awards despite stealing the soundtrack of an African movie for his winning song.

SHARON SIBINDI
OWN CORRESPONDENT

Stakeholders in the music industry have been calling on the NACZ to withdraw the award as Jah Prayzah had not been creative in the winning song Mwana Musikana from the album Tsviriyo, but simply stole from Ghanaian singer Emmanuel Samini’s 2007 hit track Samini and presented it as his own.

NACZ spokesperson Catherine Mthombeni said copyright theft issues are criminal activities like any other theft and encouraged anyone whose rights have been infringed to report the culprit to the police.

Ghanaian singer Emmanuel Samini
Ghanaian singer Emmanuel Samini

“NACZ has no arresting powers. On the issue of Jah Prayzah, council has not received any formal report of the alleged plagiarism by Mukombe. As soon as we do, we would obviously advise the aggrieved to report the culprit to the police,” Mthombeni said in an e-mailed response.

The Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (Zimura) said artistes should approach original composers to arrange performing rights to avoid copyright breaches.

Zimura executive director Polisile Ncube said in the event of a copyright breach, as in the Jah Prayzah case, the original composer can seek redress through her organisation.

She said Zimura would prosecute the offending party using the Copyright Act.

Section 17 of the Act allows a musician to obtain redress and enjoy benefits of his or her sweat from the proceeds accrued by the thieving singer.

She indicated that lyrics on any song could be submitted to Zimura if there was a dispute.

“Subject to this Act, copyright in a literary or musical  work shall vest in the owner the exclusive right to do or to authorise the doing of any of the following acts in Zimbabwe like reproducing the work, importing the work into Zimbabwe or exporting it from Zimbabwe, otherwise than for the personal and private use of person importing it or exporting it, causing the work to be transmitted in cable programme service, unless the service transmits a lawful broadcast, including the work, and is operated by the original broadcaster. Registered lyrics protect the artiste,” Ncube said.

Ncube urged all artistes to register their lyrics with Zimura and not to steal other artistes’ works like Jah Prayzah did.

In addition, Ncube said a number of dancehall artistes steal tunes, lyrics and sometimes complete songs from Jamaican musicians and always get away with it.

Jah Prayzah used ignorance as a defence saying he was not aware that using the soundtrack was a copyright infringement.

The Copyright Act subsists for the life of the composer and for 50 years after his or her death.

According to sources, NACZ does not involve other stakeholders in its awards selection resulting in such oversights, which could have been detected to reduce embarrassment.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Yah neh, this Jah Prayzah may be protected by the army big men. H e wears military fatigues when everyone knows its illegal to do so. My suspicion is that National Arts council is afraid of touching him as the leadership may fear for their jobs ! The boy’s success is not just down to talent. He has patrons high up.

  2. Ignorance of law is no excuse, how can he say using soundtrack is not copyright infringement, rising to fame nezvisiri zvako , but one day is one day,this nama award thing is just a disorganised house, he should be striped of the award so that all thoz ingaged in such activities know exactly the right thing to do.

  3. this thing has to top at all , how can the nacz conduct the awards alone without its stakeholders in??? these awards should be taken serious? that’s a lame excuse there when one says he didn’t know the soundtrack belonged to samini!!! ts totally lame! when one is an artiste you know the rules and regulations and thou shall not steal !how can people get it right if the foundation level itself is a mess!! that award should be taken ! there was no creativity there! unless he was awarded for theft!!

  4. this thing has to stop at all , how can the nacz conduct the awards alone without its stakeholders in??? these awards should be taken serious? that’s a lame excuse there when one says he didn’t know the soundtrack belonged to samini!!! ts totally lame! when one is an artiste you know the rules and regulations and thou shall not steal !how can people get it right if the foundation level itself is a mess!! that award should be taken ! there was no creativity there! unless he was awarded for theft!!

  5. Why does he put on the 5th Brigade {Gukurahundi} uniform? Honestly suppose he were to put on Selous scouts uniform would the authoritiesime will tell.

Comments are closed.