DJ Sumbody sues Cassper for unpaid royalties

Johannesburg – Award-winning recording superstar Cassper Nyovest and his company are being accused by fellow musician DJ Sumbody of defrauding him of royalties from their hit songs.

Sumbody also said Cassper short-changed him of half-a-million rand that Cassper received from a Samsung television advert, which features one of their popular ditties.

The accusations are contained in court papers Sumbody filed in the Joburg High Court in which he seeks a relief order against Cassper for the damage he suffered as a result of their alleged caper.

In his affidavit, which is in our possession, Sumbody said he and Cassper agreed to a partly oral and partly written agreement to compose two songs – Remote Control and Tseya Ukwe, which were produced by Bass Qhawe Modlongwa and Thabo Khanyile.

Sheer Music was appointed as publisher of the songs and Cassper’s record label, Family Tree, as the owner of the masters of the record.

He said he, Cassper, Modlongwa and Khanyile were entitled to 25% of the song’s publishing rights.

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He further said the authors of the songs were supposed to become beneficiaries of publishing royalties, which were collected and distributed after registering the songs with SA Music Rights Organisation (Samro), SA Performance Rights Association, (Sapra) and Composer Authors and Publishers Association (Capasso).

In the Tseya Ukwe tune, Tumelo Manyoni and Josiah Makoela, who produced the song, would be entitled to 15% each, Sienkie Austin Mokubung 10%, while authors of the song become beneficiaries of the publishing royalties collected and distributed after registering it with Samro, Sapra and Capasso.

Family Tree would own the masters rights of the song and license it to Universal, while Sheer would administer the publishing rights on behalf of Cassper’s stable.

He said Cassper released the songs in his album Sweet and Short on November 30 2018 and lodged it with Sheer, on behalf of Cassper, Bridge Music Entertainment and Family Tree, according to the agreed upon splits.

He said Bridge Music Entertainment, at the behest of Cassper, fraudulently lodged the songs with Sheer Music, which subsequently registered them with Samro, Sapra and Capasso when they gave him zero percent in the split of royalties.

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Modlongwa got 30%, Kanyile 30% and Cassper 40%.

He also got nada for Tseya Ukwe.

Cassper got 33.34%, Sheer Music 16.66%, Modlongwa 50%, while Manyoni, Mokubung and Makoela received zilch.

He said when he enquired from Samro, Sapra and Capasso they refused to divulge information because he was not entitled to it.

He said Bridge Music Entertainment wrote to him and claimed that an error was committed and said he was entitled to 10% split of royalties of Remote Control, Cassper 40%, and Modlongwa and Khanyile got 25% each.

He pleaded with the high court to grant him an order to force Samro, Sapra, Capasso, Cassper and his stable to make all financial records available for auditing so that he could recoup his royalties.

DJ Sumbody’s lawyer Katlego Malatji said the muso continues to enjoy a good relationship with Cassper.

“The matter before the courts is in relation to a dispute wherein either the record label or publisher could be at fault regarding publishing splits. Our only concern is ensuring that our clients rights are protected and his dues paid to him. There is no fight between the artists themselves and they continue to relate amicably,” Malatji said.

Cassper couldn’t be reached for comment.

The court papers seen by Sunday World.

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