Kenya’s top Afropop band Sauti Sol has taken issue with Raila Odinga using one of their songs without their permission.
In a statement released on Monday, May 16, the Midnight Train hitmakers said the Azimio Coalition presidential candidate used their song ‘Extravaganza’ without authority.
The song was used as a soundtrack in a video announcing Martha Karua as Raila’s running mate. The video was posted on Raila’s official social media accounts.
Hon. @MarthaKarua is an exceptional leader with high principles.
Thank you, Martha, for agreeing to walk with me on this journey.
— Raila Odinga (@RailaOdinga) May 16, 2022
Sauti Sol said this was a blatant copyright infringement.
“We did not license this song to the Azimio la Umoja campaign and 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 170 of the Copyright Act of Kenya. This action is a flagrant disregard of our basic and fundamental rights to property and freedom of association,” Sauti Sol wrote.
The singers also stated they are in no way associated with Azimio La Umoja or any political movement for that matter.
“We would like to make it very clear to our fans, partners and associates, we are not aligned to nor associated with the Azimio La Umoja Campaign or any other Political Movement and/or Party, their Presidential aspirants, Vice Presidential aspirants and candidates at large. We are fully apolitical,” the statement reads.
Sauti Sol also indicated they will be seeking compensation for the violation of their copyright.
This comes days after Raila Odinga paid the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) Sh526,000 to acquire a license to play music during his presidential campaigns.
Odinga’s daughter Winnie Odinga remitted the funds, which gave Azimio the greenlight to use local and international music in his campaigns.
“It is gratifying to see that presidential candidates are complying with the Copyright Law by paying for music used in their political campaigns.
“We thank Winnie Odinga and the entire Raila Odinga Presidential team for this gesture and urge other political candidates to emulate them by making payments for the use of copyrighted musical works in their campaigns,” said MCSK.
It remains to be seen how the copyright row with Sauti Sol will be resolved.
Here’s the full statement from Sauti Sol.