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Composers issue music “Take Down” after MTN violations

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The Composers, Authors and Publishers Association (CAPASSO) has issued a “Take Down” instruction to MTN to remove its members’ music from its stores.

Last week the Composers, Authors and Publishers Association (CAPASSO) released a media statement detailing mobile giant MTN’s failure to pay music copyright royalties to songwriters since 2013.

The company, which owes R1 million for 2014 alone, had also failed to declare music sales data and earnings for 2015 to songwriters. Further, MTN has failed to enter into a music usage licence agreement with CAPASSO or its predecessor since 2010. This means that MTN has been selling unlicensed music in contravention of the Copyright Act, which requires a 3rd party such as MTN to seek permission from the owners of musical compositions before such compositions can be sold by such 3rd party.

Following media exposure of this matter, MTN last week finally invited CAPASSO to a meeting after 10 months of ignoring requests to meet with CAPASSO. In the meeting, MTN requested that the matter be resolved without further media exposure. As a consequence of the meeting, CAPASSO sent to MTN an official offer of settlement that included a request for affirmative response from MTN by 16h00 yesterday (Monday 8 February 2016).

CAPASSO CEO Nothando Migogo states: “MTN did not even respond to CAPASSO’s offer, which included a call for MTN to cease deflecting its copyright liability by alleging that its content aggregators (the companies that MTN hires to deliver music to MTN for sale to MTN subscribers), are responsible. CAPASSO seeks a commitment from MTN to acknowledge that MTN is the music storefront and as such, MTN itself is liable for the copyright use and undertakes to enter into a licence agreement with CAPASSO in that regard”.

According to CAPASSO, contentions by MTN that other bodies should rather be responsible for MTN’s copyright royalty liability cannot absolve MTN of copyright infringement because firstly, MTN does not check and ensure that the music received by it is licensed before putting it up for sale; secondly, it is MTN itself which ultimately continues to sell the unlicensed music for its own profit and gain (music sales drive data and airtime consumption and are a valuable service for the MTN brand).

“We further reject MTN’s assertion that the only reason it has not paid the 2014 invoice is ‘due to disputed claims’ (i.e. where the ownership of a song is disputed). We believe that had MTN truly intended to compensate the copyright owners as quickly as possible for music sales made in 2014, it would have paid the undisputed portion of the invoice (which amounts to 92% of the invoice) and communicated the dispute claims directly to CAPASSO” says Migogo.

Following MTN’s failure to respond to CAPASSO’s letter sent to it on Friday, CAPASSO has today instructed MTN to cease the use, sale and other exploitation of musical works owned or represented by CAPASSO members (these are known as “take-down notices”). These works must be removed from all MTN stores by Wednesday 10 February 2016.

CAPASSO represents numerous songwriters either directly, such as Tarryn Lamb, Nompumelelo Mzobe and Doctor Malinga, or through their publishers such Ghetto Ruff, Soulistic Music (Universal Music Publishers), CashTime Life (Gallo Music Publishers), Sheer Publishing and many others.

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Kenya tool to help companies prepare for emergencies

After its team members survived last week’s Nairobi terror attack, Ushahidi decided to release a new preparedness tool for free, writes its CEO, NAT MANNING

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On Tuesday I woke up a bit before 7am in Berkeley, California where I live. I made some coffee and went over to my computer to start my work day. I checked my Slack and the news and quickly found out that there was an ongoing terrorist attack at 14 Riverside Complex in Nairobi, Kenya. The Ushahidi office is in Nairobi and about a third of our team is based there (the rest of us are spread across 10 other countries).

As I read the news, my heart plummeted, and I immediately asked the question, “is everyone on my team okay?”

Five years ago Al-Shabaab committed a similar attack at the Westgate Mall. We spent several tense hours figuring out if any of our team had been in the mall, and verifying that everyone was safe. We found out that one of our team member’s family was caught up in the attack. Luckily they made it out.

At Ushahidi we make software for crisis response, including tools to map disasters and election violence, and yet we felt helpless in the face of this attack. In the days following the Westgate attack, our team huddled and thought about what we could build that would help our team — and other teams — if we found ourselves in a similar situation to this attack again. We identified that when we first learned of the attack, nearly everyone at Ushahidi had spent that first precious few hours trying to answer the basic questions, “Is everyone okay?”, and if not, “Who needs help?” 

People had ad-hoc used multiple channels such as WhatsApp, called, emailed, or texted. We had done this for each person at Ushahidi (their job), in our families, and important people in our community. Our process was unorganised, inefficient, repetitive, and frustrating.

And from this problem we created TenFour, a check in tool that makes it easier for teams to reach one another during times of crisis. It is a simple application that lets people send a message to their team via SMS, Slack, Voice, email, and in-app, and get a response. It also works for educational institutions, companies with distributed staff, as well as part of neighbourhood networks like neighbourhood watches.

This week when I woke up to the news of the attack at Riverside, I immediately opened up the TenFour app.

Click here to read how Nat quickly confirmed the safety of his team.

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Kia multi-collision airbags

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The world’s first multi-collision airbag system has been unveiled by Hyundai Motor Group subsidiary KIA Motors, with the aim of improving airbag performance in multi-collision accidents.

Multi-collision accidents are those in which the primary impact is followed by collisions with secondary objects, such as other vehicles, trees, or electrical posts, which occur in three out of every 10 accidents. Current airbag systems do not offer secondary protection when the initial impact is insufficient to cause them to deploy. 

However, the multi-collision airbag system allows airbags to deploy effectively upon a secondary impact, by calibrating the status of the vehicle and the occupants.

The new technology detects occupants’ positions in the cabin following an initial collision. When occupants are forced into unusual positions, the effectiveness of existing safety technology may be compromised. Multi-collision airbag systems are designed to deploy even faster when initial safety systems may not be effective, providing additional safety when drivers and passengers are most vulnerable. By recalibrating the collision intensity required for deployment, the airbag system responds more promptly during the secondary impact, thereby improving the safety of multi-collision vehicle occupants.

“By improving airbag performance in multi-collision scenarios, we expect to significantly improve the safety of our drivers and passengers,” said Taesoo Chi, head of the Hyundai Motor Group’s Chassis Technology Centre. “We will continue our research on more diverse crash situations as part of our commitment to producing even safer vehicles that protect occupants and prevent injuries.”

According to statistics by the National Automotive Sampling System Crashworthiness Data System (NASS-CDS), an office of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in USA, about 30% of 56,000 vehicle accidents from 2000 to 2012 in the North American region involved multi-collisions. The leading type of multi-collision accidents involved cars crossing over the centre line (30.8%), followed by collisions caused by a sudden stop at highway tollgates (13.5%), highway median strip collisions (8.0%), and sideswiping and collision with trees and electric poles (4.0%). 

These multi-collision scenarios were analysed in multilateral ways to improve airbag performance and precision in secondary collisions. Once commercialised, the system will be implemented in future new KIA vehicles. 

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