It is no news that Plantashun Boiz has split, but who has the rights to the songs we have come to love and enjoy at various events or in the serenity of our living rooms?
Recently, a reunion was announced involving two members of the group (2Face and Faze), for a concert scheduled to hold on the 21st of September 2019 with the exclusion of Blackface. The concert will feature performances of the group’s hits over the years. It has however been reported that Blackface is attempting to prohibit the performance of any Plantashun Boiz’s songs, alleging that it will constitute an infringement of his registered copyright, according to Section 28 (c) of the Copyright Act, 2004 (the “Act”), which states that, “A performer's right is infringed by a person who, without the performer's consent or authorization in writing, performs in public the whole or a substantial part of the performance”.
Copyright is the legal right that grants the author of the works, the exclusive rights to its distribution for a limited time. Section 1(1) of the Act provides that, “…Literary works, Musical works, Artistic works, Cinematographic films, Sound Recordings and Broadcasts are eligible for protection.” The first owner of the work is the author. In this case, the songs are reported to have been co-authored by all the members of the group, which gives them joint authorship over the songs. The joint authorship doctrine involves the sharing of intellectual property rights in a work, which has been jointly prepared by more than one author, with the intention that their contributions be merged into inseparable or interdependent parts of a unitary whole.
Where a song is written, performed and recorded jointly by a group, the individuals comprising the group shall have joint authorship/ ownership of the song. Additionally, where a record of the song is performed and recorded jointly by a group, the members of the group jointly own the masters or master recording of such a song and as such, the rights in the song- including the right to perform the song, shall belong to all the members. Therefore, there will be no infringement of copyright as in Section 14(1)(a) of the Act “copyright is infringed by any person, who without the license or authorisation of the owner of the copyright, does or cause any person to do an act which is controlled by copyright”.
It remains to be determined whether Blackface’s claims have any validity and we look forward to seeing how this situation is resolved.
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