Rapper Chris Kaiga Alleges Safaricom Illegally Used ‘Zimenice’ Phrase in Blaze Promo

Source: YouTube Screenshot

Rapper Chris Kahiga has announced that telco Safaricom infringed on his creative work.

This is the statement the rapper sent on his Twitter page:

It is high time Safaricom got called out for infringing on my creative works! Less than one year ago they ran a campaign dubbed ‘Zimenice Zemince Zangu Zimenice na Blaze by Safaricom’ which I hold the registered trademark and copyright to the song.

According to the tweet, the telco was pushing an ad for Blaze using words found in Kahiga’s song ZIMENICE featuring Tezzla. It was released more than one year ago. It is a popular song among the youths and has since some of its phrases used in Sheng’ exchanges.

Safaricom has not said anything about the accusations, but knowing the operator, we are sure it is looking into the matter via its robust legal team.

However, Kenyans have not shied away from airing their views about Kahiga’s statement. Many appear to question his motives or knowledge about IP matters. Others are on his side.

Here are some views we have since gathered from the tweet’s responses:

@TriXta_Tharreal asks: What made you think of trademarking Zimenice and not Ziende Chain Chain? I would assume if you were that anticipatory you would do the same as soon as the song became a hit.

@WAZIRI: Just being honest with you, I don’t think you’ll win this one. They’ve not appropriated your song and it can be argued you are not the inventor of those words as they existed before your songs. You may hold the copyright to the song but not the trademark to written words.

@theplayrewind chips in: You can Trademark a phrase & anyone/corporation that intends to use it for commercial purposes should get a synchronization license from the holder of the trademark.

@Kim82Su adds: You cannot trademark common words used in language. The trademark is the song not the words in the song. In that case hata “Zangu” can be trademarked.

@theplayrewind differs: When a phrase or word is trademarked it means only the holder of the trademark can use it for trade, but anyone else can use it for general purpose, but for trade only the holder of the trademark. I’m certain in the past Safcom had trademarked, “the better option” for their commercial purposes but we could use it for general purposes but no entity could use “the better option” for commercial purposes as it was associated with Safcom.

Others have since said that Kahiga is on the right track:

The conversations reveal a two-sided argument, all with valid points.

However, we are certain there are things that a legal mind cannot grasp, so we will follow up on what experts have to say, both for an against Kahiga’s accusations.

The conversation can be followed here: