At 75, an artist may be too old to write a new hit single, but that doesn't make them too old to sue someone famous with a new hit single for a large sum of money over 10 syllables from a 37-year-old song. Cameroonian artist, Manu Dibango, is suing both Michael Jackson and Rihanna for copyright infringement
over his 1972 hit, Soul Makossa
. The complicating factor is that Jackson was already sued decades ago for infringing the tune in his 1983 single, Wanna Be Startin' Something
, and he had settled with Dibango, but now he's under fire again for allegedly licensing the infringing bit to Rihanna for her 2007 hit, Please Don't Stop the Music
, without contacting Dibango to get permission. According to Wikipedia
, Soul Makossa
features a Duala chant, "Mama-ko, mama-sa, ma-ka-ma-ko-ssa," while a similar sounding Swahili chant, "Ma Ma Se, Ma Ma Sa, Ma Ma Coo Sa," appears in both Jackson's and Rihanna's song. Dibango is demanding €500,000, and that the courts block the labels from receiving any money from the allegedly infringing tunes until the matter is resolved.
Dibango has a history of making great music, but more recently, he served as President of the Cameroon Music Corporation, where he was known for defending intellectual property rights and fighting piracy
. It's a real shame that you need to hire a law firm to make use of a catchy phrase from another song, but I guess that's what happens when everyone is focused on "protecting"
their rights, rather than on making music.