Lebo Mashile weighs in on 'stolen concept' Somizi cooking show drama!
'I leave room for doubt that Somizi may not have been aware of the IP theft,' she said
Activist, writer and poet Lebo Mashile has weighed in on the debate around intellectual property in the creative space, after Idols SA judge Somizi was accused of allegedly stealing the concept for his hit TV talk show Dinner At Somizi's.
Lebo shared on Twitter her view on the importance of knowing how to protect an idea, and how the conversation is necessary in an industry where big brands are prone to making profit off other people's ideas without remuneration.
“This IP (intellectual property) conversation is necessary. This is a very common practice that has led to the overall devaluation of black creativity as labour and as a source of current/future income. If you are referring to an idea or concept that isn’t yours, reference the originator of the idea,” she said.
Her comments came as Somizi made headlines regarding claims that he had used an idea pitched to him by Hastings Moeng several years ago.
In an e-mail allegedly sent to Somizi in 2014, Hastings outlined a concept for a series with the star, that shared many of the same elements as the current 1Magic show.
In a letter of demand to MultiChoice by Hastings' lawyers, seen by TshisaLIVE, it was further claimed that in June 2015, a meeting was held between Hastings and Somizi where it was “agreed the idea was commercially viable and should be pursued”. It also claimed that Hastings later reached out to Dinner at Somizi's producer Nkululeko “Legend” Manqele to propose a meeting to discuss the show, but this did not materialise.
Lebo explained that at its core, giving due credit for ideas was a form of respect.
She said people needed to get into the habit of referencing the source of the ideas and learn to self-correct if they “mistakenly steal”.
The poet also noted that, as a creative, she left room for doubt on Somizi's involvement on the matter.
She explained that an artist's name may be used multiple times without them knowing anything about it, and directed her blame to the broadcaster.
“I leave room for doubt that Somizi may not have been aware of the IP theft. As performers, our names are used in 100s of proposals, known and unknown, many of which never see the light of day.”
When she was told that the idea and pitch were allegedly addressed directly to Somizi, Lebo questioned whether Somizi had spoken on the matter.
“Kubi. Has Somizi released a statement? I’m thinking of how many artists have representatives who stand in proxy for them in the preliminary stages of negotiation. E-mails addressed to 'me' may not be seen by the real me until the conversation has progressed to a certain stage,” Lebo said.
She added that she was not trying to force the idea that Somizi was 100% innocent.
“Please don’t think that I am trying to force the idea that he is 100% innocent. I am reflecting on my own experiences and leaving room for doubt.”
Meanwhile, MultiChoice spokesperson Benedict Maaga told TshisaLIVE it was aware of the allegations and had reached out to Hastings to discuss the matter.
“MultiChoice is aware of the allegations made by Hastings Moeng in relation to Dinner at Somizi’s. When content is commissioned from producers, as in this case, MultiChoice obtains undertakings that all intellectual property rights in relation to the show have been cleared.
“We reached out to Mr Moeng a week ago to discuss the matter and we await his response. We are also engaging with the show's producer.”
Read Lebo's full thread below:
Reference unknown black people. Reference ideas that are not written down. Reference people who are not famous. Reference your grandmother.— habitual nyisist (@lebomashile) September 16, 2020
Referencing is respect. If mistakenly steal, self correct. If you do it deliberately for gain, you deserve karmic ancestral ass whoopings.
I leave room for doubt that Somizi may not have been aware of the IP theft. As performers, our names are used in 100s of proposals, known & unknown, many of which never see the light of day. Multichoice/DSTV is wrong in this story. They did what SA TV broadcasters always do.— habitual nyisist (@lebomashile) September 16, 2020