Turning hymns into folly play


Mafo and Gibo Lantos might not make sense to the old school music lovers. In fact, at the risk of being in accurate, both Gibo Lantos and Mafo’s parents might not even know these two boys going by these names are actually their own children.

But believe you me; they have a huge influence on their fellow youths. This makes it worrisome when they put too much effort to turn both gospel music and other compositions from the hymn book into something lyrically unrecognizable, save for the familiar tune or melody.

I don’t desire to go into details for the fear of further directing the youth to such misguided music. Suffice it to say the creativity juices are flowing into wrong places for these boys who so far have changed few such gospel songs into covers that are promoting the very things the gospel stands against.

I am not here to say whether or not these two competing – not complementing – productions are done below or above par, musically, but I am here to discuss the ethical characteristic of musicians and the music they release in the manner that they do.

For Gibo Lantos, already, he has come into conflict with gospel outfit Great Angels Choir for making a cover of the tune and instrumentation of their hit Mundimangiranji.

What Gibo Lantos and Mafo do is to put in lyrics that talk about how good it is for them to be smoking cannabis as well as excessive beer drinking and womanising.

While there is an argument on whether a secular song can be adapted into a gospel song, the fact that these young guys decide to do the opposite by turning everything else to something else, then there is a problem.

Imagine a track that all your church life – since Sunday schools days – you have sang ‘God I can’t survive without you,’ then these boys do a cover that interchange God for cannabis or alcohol and they will now sing ‘cannabis I can’t survive without you,” just because on its own the message can’t sell but it has to ride on the catchy gospel hook instead.

I don’t want to take the route of trying to put out a sermon for the lads to repent but I would rather stick to the issue of ethics as this borders on copyrights which are a tool that is supposed to protect both songs thus melody and lyrics as well as recordings.

 

The owner of copyrights have exclusive rights to a number of acts including making of derivative works which is exactly what the boys are doing with songs that have their copyrights held by others and not them.

Whether or not they get the derivative rights to do remix of these previously done songs as well as the parody lyric sets to these well-known songs clearly show few challenges:

 

There is little knowledge of how these things work and this is the reason the right holders do not know how much power they wield over their works; while those committing the offence do so in ignorance, which of course, is not a defence in a court of law.

There are a number of issues to consider especially when it comes to copyright effectiveness of the hymn songs which have been with us for decades.

The moment these hymns were made public domain and such other attendant issues relating to the same coming into play, it became difficult to protect them from – not only the abuse they are suffering now but also for them to enjoy intellectual property rights protection which covers four Areas: Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks and Trade Secrets.

Music cannot be protected as a trade secret. Since 1886, when pharmacist John Pemberton invented Coca-Cola, the formula for Coca-Cola has remained the longest running trade secret as the Coca-Cola Corporation never applied for a patent.

 

When you consider the rigorous legal processes, all I can ask from the boys – Gibo Lantos and Mafo is to behave themselves and be creative enough to make names without ‘badmouthing’ anything and anyone through the songs they are churning out now.

 

 

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