“Jerusalema Dance Challenge”: These are the rights you need for the music in the video

Over the last few months, dance videos with the song “Jerusalema” by the South African artists DJ Master KG and Nomcebo Zikode went viral on the web. This article explains what the conditions for using the music in the videos are and which rights are actually involved.

The “Jerusalema Dance Challenge” became a hit on the internet: Thousands, be it businesses, associations or individuals are dancing in self-made videos to the song “Jerusalema” by the two artists DJ Master KG and Nomcebo Zikode from South Africa. Whether the videos are shown on YouTube, Facebook or Instagram - they enjoy great popularity in these tough times.

Since these videos use a third-party audio recording on the one hand, and a work protected by copyright on the other hand, the necessary permissions must be obtained, and the relevant licences must be acquired - not just from SUISA.

Several rights are affected

First of all, you have to distinguish between two types of rights which must be cleared if you want to use a recorded music piece in a video:

  • the neighbouring rights (or related rights) for the audio recording which lie with the label of the song,
  • the copyright in the work i.e., the composition and the lyrics which lie with the music publisher and/or the author(s).

In charge of the copyright in the work: Music publisher and SUISA

In the case of “Jerusalema”, the synchronisation rights of the work are managed by a music publisher and the author is represented by SUISA in Switzerland.

The copyright in the work must thus be cleared with the following rights owners:

  1. SUISA issues the licences for the reproduction of the work in the course of a video production as well as for the making available of the work in a video on the website of the party in question and/or social media platforms.
    The level of the cost for SUISA licences depends on the production budget of the video. If the video is only shown on the website of the company or the association, for example, about CHF 150 will be due: CHF 50 for the reproduction and CHF 100 for the making available on the website of the party in question. If it is also published via social media, legal entities must additionally pay CHF 150.
    Private persons must also acquire a licence for the reproduction and making available as soon as music (and specifically also music in a video) is used outside the personal sphere. And that is the case when you publish a video via social media. Based on agreements between SUISA with YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, the rights for making available by individuals are, however, already covered.
    Details on the SUISA licence can be accessed on our website via: Music and videos on the internet
  2. The music publisher issues the synchronisation rights for a work. If someone wants to publish a video accompanied by music, they have to check with the publisher first whether they are even allowed to use the song for the video.
    The cost for such rights is at the discretion of the publisher and are in no way connected to the SUISA licences. It often depends in such cases how famous or successful a song is.
    The musical piece “Jerusalema” is published by Sony Music Publishing. The music publisher can be contacted here:
    sync_marketing.uk (at) sonymusicpub (dot) com

Responsible for the neighbouring rights in the audio recording: Record company

When it comes to assigning the neighbouring rights in the audio recording, the record label is in charge. These rights which are sometimes also referred to as master rights or producer rights are usually managed by the producer of the recording, i.e. the music label. The permission and the licence for the synchronisation and recording of the audio file must be acquired from them.
The cost for these rights in the audio recording is at the discretion of the music label and often depend on how famous or successful a song is. The song in question, “Jerusalema” has been released by Warner Music.


In order to make a video which contains an audio recording of the music piece “Jerusalema”, you must clear all the above-mentioned rights so that it can be published and shown outside the private sphere. SUISA is only responsible for and contact for licences it issues directly. SUISA has no influence on the licensing process and the licensing terms and conditions of other rights holders.