Pay up for ‘Jerusalema’ videos, Warner Music tells German police

A German state has been forced to fork out for licence fees after police officers took part in a ‘Jerusalema’ dance challenge.

pay up for jerusalema videos warner music tells german police 1024x683 - Pay up for ‘Jerusalema’ videos, Warner Music tells German police

South African DJ Master KG’s Jerusalema, featuring Nomcebo Zikode, became a global hit in 2020.

Staff at businesses, hospitals, police forces and other workplaces have since filmed themselves dancing to Jerusalema as a way of spreading good cheer during the coronavirus pandemic.

But Warner Music has now written to many of these organisations in Germany demanding licence fees amounting to several thousand euros in some cases. This is according to a recent report in the Focus weekly news magazine.

Fire services cancel ‘Jerusalema’ video plans

masterkg - Pay up for ‘Jerusalema’ videos, Warner Music tells German police
Master KG performs ‘Jerusalema’ at Lake Malawi in November 2020. Image: George Ntonya/AFP

The interior ministry for Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia state said on Monday it had “settled claims from Warner Music on behalf of several police forces” in the region.

A spokesman for Dusseldorf University Hospital told national news agency DPA it had also received mail from Warner Music and had taken down its Jerusalema video. 

The North Rhine-Westphalia Fire Brigades Association warned members about the licence fees in early January after learning about one such letter, a spokesman said.

Some fire services had since deleted their Jerusalema videos or cancelled plans to make one, he said.

Warner Music slated on social media

Warner’s move sparked sharp criticism on their Facebook page on Monday. Many users accused the label of shabby behaviour:

warnermusic.de is suing the fire fighters, nurses and nurses, really 2753 - Pay up for ‘Jerusalema’ videos, Warner Music tells German police1f62d - Pay up for ‘Jerusalema’ videos, Warner Music tells German police because they have the license to the song. That can't be true 1f622 - Pay up for ‘Jerusalema’ videos, Warner Music tells German police #jerusalema . Don‘t like this Kapitalism www.warnermusic.de

Posted by Andre Soos on Monday, February 15, 2021

“You should donate the additional income you now receive… at least the money you get from the fire brigades, police stations, etc,” another user wrote.

But the label has defended its action. 

“We love the fact that the fans are getting behind ‘Jerusalema‘. But if organisations in Germany use the song to promote themselves, we think they should secure a dubbing licence,” a Warner spokesman told Focus.

“In these difficult times, it is more important than ever that artists and performers are paid for their music when it is used by third parties to enhance their reputation,” the spokesman said.

© By Agence France-Presse

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