The controversy on who owns the Fikisa and Piksy brands reared its head again at the inaugural Musicians Association of Malawi (MAM) Awards on Friday night.
Piksy was awarded for his track Unamata in the Special Media category while Fikisa were named the Best Traditional group.
Piksy resigned from Nde’feyo Entertainment last year and the label responded by dragging him to court, claiming a right to the name and music he recorded while with the label.
Nde’feyo Entertainment claim they still own the artist until the case is resolved in court.
On the one hand, Fikisa fell out with Nyimbo Music Company in 2012.
Despite the group disbanding after a feud over witchcraft claims, Nyimbo Music Company released a press statement stopping anyone to deal with Fikisa without the label’s consent.
The statement also ordered the group to stop performing all songs recorded during the duration of contract.
The question that has been rained is who owns the awards.
In an interview, Musicians Association of Malawi (MAM) president Chimwemwe Mhango said his office does not know anything about the contracts mayhem and said they merely recognised the talents.
Nde’feyo Entertainment director Khumbo Munthali asked for time to consult, but Nyimbo Music director Daud Suleman said they will take a legal suit.
“We issued a press statement on what should be done when dealing with Fikisa. We have not been contacted by the awardees and [Jeffrey] Thom.
“Fikisa is a registered trademark founded and protected by Nyimbo Music Company. We are consulting with our lawyers and we are going to sue the organisers and Thom,” said Suleman.
Reacting to this, Thom said he is no longer with Nyimbo Music Company and he is ready to meet the label in court.
“The award is not for the label, but artists. I am the leader of the group and I was behind our success. MAM has recognised my talent,” said Thom.
On his part, Piksy said his lawyers can explain more on the issue, but said what he knows is that the awards recognised his talent.
Renowned music promoter Jai Banda said he believes the awards are personal to artists, but said if the contracts stipulate that the two parties should share the proceeds raised, then they should share.
“The talents cannot be revoked from the artist and I think it is the artist recognised. It is a difficult situation because they fell out with their labels and so what should guide them should be what is in the contract because the works were done when the two parties were in good terms. I sponsored Makasu Band, but when it was recognised by MBC’s Entertainers of the Year, we shared the prize,” said Jai.