The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party has downplayed copyright infringement claims by boy band Sauti Sol.
The Kenyan afro-pop band last evening threatened to take legal action against the Azimio la Umoja Campaign team over the use of the Extravaganza hit song during the unveiling of ODM leader Raila Odinga’s running mate at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) Monday.
The group said the politicians had not obtained any permission to play the song at the event.
“We did not license this song to the Azimio La Umoja campaign neither did we give any consent for its use in the announcement of their Vice-Presidential candidate. Furthermore, our authority to use the composition, which is one of our most distinct compositions was neither sought nor given. This is blatant copyright infringement as directed by Section 35 CAP 17o of the Copyright Act of Kenya,” Sauti Sol said in a statement.
“This action is a flagrant disregard of our basic and fundamental rights to property and freedom of association. Through their action, they have taken away the right to own and control what is originally and solely our property and have directly associated us to their campaign without our consent. This is contrary to Article 4 of the Constitution of Kenya.”
Responding to the renowned artists on Tuesday, ODM, a founder member of the Azimio coalition, said the song was played at the event as a show of love for the band’s good work.
“We would like to assure our celebrated musical team Sauti Sol that we love them & appreciate their music so much. The group has carried our country’s flag so high in international fora & every Kenyan appreciates this,” said ODM in a tweet.
“Playing their song yesterday was a show of love for their work.”
We would like to assure our celebrated musical team @sautisol that we love them & appreciate their music so much.The group has carried our country’s flag so high in international fora & every Kenyan appreciates this. Playing their song yesterday was a show of love for their work.
— The ODM Party (@TheODMparty) May 17, 2022
The band came under heavy criticism from a section of Kenyans over the threats to drag the political organisation to court.
Some netizens were quick to point out that the Odinga-led team had already made payments to the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MSCK) for local and international music played at the Azimio campaigns.
Notably, early this month, Winnie Odinga, Odinga’s daughter and Azimio representative, paid Sh526,000 to MSCK as confirmed by Senior Licensing Officer David Kiragu.
Our Senior Licensing Officer Mr. David Kiragu with @Winnie_Odinga after she made payments of Ksh 562,500/= for local and international music used in the @RailaOdinga Presidential Campaigns. pic.twitter.com/b7Co3LzpL7
— Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) (@TheMCSK) May 7, 2022
A section of other Kenyans also reminded Sauti Sol that the catchphrase “Wakiapisha Tunaapisha” as used in the song lyrics was coined by Odinga’s team during the disputed 2017 polls.
"Na wakiapisha, (Tunaapisha)" is an original concept by Raila Odinga. Sauti Sol used it without permission from Baba https://t.co/RauZDZ5LAW
— Ches (@jesangs_) May 16, 2022
The hit song released in May 2018 has garnered over 9.6 million views on YouTube.