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Music company demands fees: Expensive repercussions for "Jerusalema Challenge" after police dance in NRW

Music company demands fees : Expensive repercussions for "Jerusalema Challenge" after police dance in NRW

Many groups and workforces have already danced to the song "Jerusalema" and published their video for it. Now comes the proverbial receipt - from the music company "Warner Music". The indignation is great.

The so-called "Jerusalema-Challenge", in which the staff of hospitals, companies or fire stations danced to the song of the same name, has an expensive aftermath: Warner Music has demanded subsequent royalties. A spokeswoman for the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of the Interior confirmed to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur that the affected police stations had already paid. "Focus Online" had previously reported. A response from Warner Music to the dpa inquiry was initially still pending.

The portal quoted a Warner spokesman over the weekend as saying, "We love the fact that fans are behind "Jerusalema." But if organizations in Germany use the song to promote themselves, we think they should secure a dubbing license." In these "difficult times," he said, it is "more important than ever that artists and performers get paid for their music when it is used by third parties to boost their reputation."

Police in the Märkischer Kreis district, among others, had released an elaborate video in mid-November showing patrol officers and forensics officers dancing to the pop song from South Africa. "It is true that the North Rhine-Westphalian Interior Ministry has settled Warner Music's claims for several police stations in connection with the Jerusalema Challenge," the ministry spokeswoman told dpa on Monday. Details could not be given for "contractual reasons." The video of the police in the Märkischer Kreis continues to be online.

Not so with the Düsseldorf University Hospital. According to a spokesperson, it too had received mail from Warner Music. In fact, the clinic had already taken the dance video of its staff offline again shortly after it appeared - which was also communicated to the music company in response. Since then, there has been no demand for money, according to the university clinic.

The regional firefighters' association in NRW had already warned its members about the license fees at the beginning of January, according to managing director Christoph Schöneborn. At that time one had learned of first such letters, said Schöneborn on Monday. We wanted to protect the task forces, which acted "in the absolute good faith", from consequences. In fact, he had learned of some fire departments that had canceled their planned challenge or deleted the corresponding video again, Schöneborn said.

The catchy song "Jersualema" by South Africans DJ Master KG and Nomcebo Zikode had become a hit globally during the pandemic. Initially, there were quite a few videos of group dances on the video platform "TikTok," then the movement spread to helpers such as nurses, doctors, police officers and firefighters.

Critical comments piled up on the Facebook page of "Warner Music" on Monday, often accusing the corporation of "shabby behavior." One user wrote: "You should donate the additional generated revenue you now receive (Jerusalema). Definitely, the money you receive from the fire departments, police stations, etc.!"

Original text: dpa

Translation: Mareike Graepel