Reports are in that Flavour N’abania and South Africa’s DJ Cleo are currently in a huge copyright infringement battle with top telecommunications company, MTN.
According to The NET, the two artistes have demanded the sales data from MTN of the revenue generated from their hit singles that have been sold as a download, ringtone or ringback tone by the company. They have also asked for the sales data from MTN’s subsidiary and content aggregator, Content Connect Africa (CCA) and Vodacom so they can have them audited to establish whether their copyright has been infringed.
Both MTN and CCA have strongly denied any infringement and have dismissed the claims, calling them ‘ludicrous’. Reports are that if Flavour and DJ Cleo can prove copyright violations, the culprits will be have to pay a first offence fine of up to R5,000 in accordance to the SA Copyright Act or face jail time.
Just last year, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) filed criminal charges against MTN Nigeria for copyright infringements relating to the work of Abuja based artiste, Baba 2010. MTN has however settled with Baba 2010 and he has withdrawn his complaint.
In addition, Capasso, the body that collects mechanical royalty rights on behalf of songwriters in South Africa, accused MTN of owing R1 million in royalties for 2014 and failing to declare music sales data and earnings for 2015.
Although MTN denies this, Capasso CEO Nothando Migogo told City Press it has been asking for a meeting with MTN since April last year and “they won’t even meet us; they won’t give us the time of day.”
DJ Cleo and Flavour are challenging MTN on the fact that ringtones and ringback tones are sold on a three-month, opt-out licence which means that if the buyer does not cancel the agreement, they are automatically recharged every three months.
MTN, Vodacom and the CCA have all denied the infringement allegations.
Source: The NET