Jerusalema, the hit song by South African artist Master KG, swept the world in 2020 and was arguably the most popular track on Earth at one point in time. The song’s popularity spread after a number of videos of the “Jerusalema challenge” – a showing of solidarity – went viral on social media.

President Cyril Ramaphosa even mentioned the phenomenon in a presidential address in September 2020. He said the dance sensation was an excellent way to celebrate our South Africanness and urged citizens to participate.

It wasn’t an uncommon sight to see the workforces from both the public and private sector, as well as individuals, participating in the challenge.

Last week [February 15], Warner Music – Master KG’s record label – slapped organisations with bills for licensing fees after public institutions such as police stations participated in the challenge and used the track in videos without permission.

The interior ministry of German state, North Rhine-Westphalia has already settled claims with the record label of some of its police stations were billed, according to German outlet DW.

According to DW’s report, a spokesperson from the German arm of the record label told the outlet that private persons would not be fined or need to obtain a license to use the song as part of the challenge in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. However, Warner Music is less lenient if “there is an advertising or image-promoting effect in favour of an institution, organisation or company.”

Once it is apparent that the above-mentioned image promotion is in effect, organisations are liable for licensing fees.

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Picture: Cape Town ETC Gallery

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