The popular 1985 hit song Nikita, created by international music legend Elton John, has recently come under scrutiny by song writer Guy Hobbes. The songwriter and photo journalist opened a lawsuit against John, stating that he had stolen lyrics and phrases from a song originally written titled ‘Natasha’.
Though some commonly used phrases and words were similar in both songs, the judged ruled in Johns’ favour, with the determination that there was no violation of copyright law.
Copyright is a sometimes overlooked integral part of the music industry and creative works process, with various forms of original works suitable for licensing. In South Africa, SAMRO protects the creative musical property of original works, composition and melody, by issuing the respective licences to artists.
If a well seasoned and internationally acclaimed musician such as Elton John can face a law suit over copyright issues, it follows that a similar situation can happen to anyone. This is why it important for all musicians to ensure that their music is protected by notifying their original musical works with SAMRO.