Controversy surrounds Soul Jah Love’s estate

By Patience Nyagato

CONTROVERSY surrounds the late Zimdancehall chanter, Soul Jah Love’s estate with producers and record labels being accused of releasing the late chanter’s music without the knowledge of his family or estate executor.

Six days ago a song titled ‘Nzwisiso’ by the late music icon and Zimdancehall star Soul Musaka popularly known as Soul Jah Love was released joining a list of many other tracks published after his death.

Despite the songs receiving positive feedback from fans, the late popular artist’s family is in a state of disconcert given the fact that none of the producers and record labels have reached out amid claims that some did not have any written contracts with the late Pamamonya Ipapo hitmaker.

“We are actually shocked. Songs are being released left right and centre and we don’t know who is going to benefit from it,” said Caroline Musaka, his sister and executor.

“From the day he died promoters never reached out about his music. We are shocked that passion java released the music. Before he died Passion was supposed to pay USD 5000 and only paid USD2000 for copyrights of a project they did together. He never paid the balance and he never got in touch so we don’t know who is benefitting because as the executor I would have known.”

Efforts to ascertain the kind of copyright agreement Soul Jah Love had with one of the record labels Passion Java Records were fruitless despite the assurance of feedback from their representative known as Boss Lashan 24 hours earlier.

Meanwhile, Legal experts say copyrights of any work belong to the author unless he assigned rights to his work through a contract.

“According to the law if I make a musical work in terms of the copyright act, that work belongs to me and if I die the copyright remains that author’s belonging for a period of up to 50 years unless before death that author has assigned the copyright through a contract in terms of 46 of the act. That’s the only way someone can attain economic value if they work. Other than that the rights belong to the author’s estate,” said Fredrick Manyangarira, Professional executor.

Whether producers had any written contract with the late Zimdancehall star remains unclear, in the wake of reports that he left more than 100 unreleased songs with different producers.

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