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You can get fined for videos of dancing to the ‘Jerusalema’ challenge posted online

You can get fined as a company for videos of you dancing to the ‘Jerusalema’ song during the challenge. Members of Parliament, businesses and corporations in Germany and across the world will soon be forced to part with large sums of money as a fine over the ‘Jerusalema’ dance challenge.

Music record company, Warner music – with which Master KG is under contract – on Monday said it will demand license fees for the use of the song in the videos.

The corporation, in a statement to German news outlet Deutsche Welle, said it will be demanding the fees from any organisation or institution that used the music, either “as an advertising or image-promoting effect in favour of an institution, organisation or company”.

DW, in its publication said a spokesperson from Warner Germany said participants in the challenge, ought to have sought permission from the producers, in the form of a license, before dancing to the music.

Master KG performing the Jerusalem song.

This means that institutions like Parliament and other private organisations and government institutions that took part in the challenge, either as part of their public relations or corporate social responsibility initiatives will be liable to the fines.

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Warner music is still yet to discuss the amount it will charge the institutions but it however said that the fines will not be imposed on the individuals who took part in the challenge.

Master KG performing the Jerusalem song.

The Jerusalema soundtrack for the challenge is a creation of South African musician and record producer Master KG, and Nomcebo Zikode.

By the end of last year, the soundtrack had been streamed at least 60 million times on music app Spotify, illustrating the huge popularity it had garnered during the pandemic.

In Germany, where many of those working as essential workers in the police, nursing and other departments took part in the challenge, the Ministry of Interior of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia said it had settled the claims for the participating police departments in the state.

Polizei in Germany dancing to the Jerusalema challenge.

And should the company go ahead with imposing the fines, many, including institutions in the country, could be forced to part with the large sums in the form of fines, for infringing on the rights of the producer, a move that has already elicited sharp reactions online.

Open letters written to Warner online, accused the company of filling its pockets from the viral challenge and its good intentions, all with the aim of neutralizing the positive vibe it had created.

Corporations dancing the Jerusalema challenge.

Some lawyers also questioned the morality of the move. While some argued that the music company had the right to protect its copyright and that of its artists, others said the timing of the move was suspect.

Others said the company ought to have warned users to first delete the videos before imposing the fines, even as music activists pointed to the low earnings generated by musicians as a result of the pandemic that ate into live performances, concerts and royalties.