JOHANNESBURG – South African hip-hop star Cassper Nyovest has been ridiculed over his plan to trademark the words “fill up”, which he popularised during his solo efforts to sell out his gigs at The Dome, Orlando Stadium and FNB Stadium.
Nyovest is suing Tsonga music artist Benny Mayengeni for marketing his recent show at Giyani Stadium in Limpopo Province using the catch phrase: “Fill Up Giyani Stadium.”
Now the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), South Africa’s third biggest opposition party, has stepped in and is offering its lawyers to fight Nyovest.
The EFF, led by Julius Malema, says “it is a lousy idea to think the words ‘fill up’ are an invention such that it must be trademarked and only used by one artist.”
“We note this as a greedy move by an artist who should be celebrating that he has inspired others to brave up and fill our stadiums instead of this always being the preserve for international artists,” the EFF said in a statement Thursday.
“Any educated person would not approach the companies and intellectual property commission to argue in their right mind that they invented the concept of ‘Fill Up’ or ‘Filling Up’.
“This would be as ridiculous as anyone trying to trademark the words ‘gusheshe’, ‘kusazoba lit’, or ‘phumakim’. All these are words and concepts of everyday use in culture and should never be commercialised.”
The EFF said no-one should make money out of “cultural, everyday linguistic developments because they would make the very possibility of culture and speaking impossible.”
Coffee shops and beer halls, the EFF said, “use the words fill up, in relation to water, coffee, tea, or any beverage, imagine if they now have to pay Cassper before they call on customers to come and ‘fill up’.”
Nyovest used his Twitter to defend his claim to the trademark.
“A lot of artists die broke because of the issue of ownership, they are mocked by fans and media yet when we educate ourselves, own our talent and ideas we’re attacked. I hope you’re learning through me,” he said in one tweet.
In another, he suggested he had received more support than condemnation.
“I really thought I would be under the fire for protecting my concept but I’ve received so much support from fans and different individuals. Ownership is a lesson I’m still learning. I am trying to protect my ideas and build a sustainable career. Hoping for a positive outcome,” he said.
But the EFF said Mayengani “must never be scared of Cassper’s lousy lawyers”, adding: “We will take them on because we have the best of the best. Many lousy patents in the world survive because people do not test them in a court of law. In a court of law, Cassper’s desperate, lazy and greedy attempt to privatise ‘Fill Up’ to himself will not only be ridiculed, it will fall.”