Music Business

Don Jazzy v. Wande Coal | Can the Foolishness Coming Out of Nigeria’s Entertainment Industry & its Leaders STOP, already?! #Entlaw

I began writing, yesterday, about the recent potential legal drama between Don Jazzy and Wande Coal to discuss the alleged claim of Intellectual Property theft and legal issues present, which I will still do, albeit on a different post. However, while writing, I just got tired, like really tired of the state of the industry and the foolishness being served of late.

So, I decided to dedicate a post to discuss the industry foolishness.

This is about getting our house in order or else we really will have no industry to talk about; or one anybody can respect both within and outside the industry within the next 2-3years, if we can make it that far.

Eyin Nigerian artists eti su mi, really (you Nigerian artists make me weary, really). Sheesh. Y’all can be off the hook, many times. You’ve got a grown man and so called boss for that matter such as Don Jazzy displaying foolish behavior of the highest order on twitter; and crying about a problem he created in the first place.

What are we supposed to do Don Jazzy? You are the business man, you also should have some scars to show from the epic Mo’Hits fallout/ dissolution that you “get it.” Didn’t you at least learn something from that? What’s good? I really tiyah, for real.

What’s the latest scoop?
Don Jazzy and Wande Coal
ON A DAY THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALL ABOUT TIWA SAVAGE’S RELEASE OF HER SONG ‘EMINADO'(Goodluck charm) featuring Don Jazzy, Don Jazzy totally pooped on that parade and brought the bad luck charm by undermining Tiwa Savage’s shine with his silly cries on twitter about an alleged theft by his former artist.

Are Wande Coal and Don Jazzy mates? What rubbish?! Why is Don Jazzy, the egbon (older one and adult) and most importantly the boss getting on twitter and stooping down to this kind of level as a business owner and leader in the industry? It is embarrassing and unacceptable. It also is ridiculous because from the facts, HE CREATED THE PROBLEM.

How can you not have your split sheets in place as a producer?  I don’t care if the artist is your mother, father, sister, brother, girlfriend, wife, gay partner or what have you. You get that in place!

How, at this point in your career, do you get into a studio with your artist and not delineate the lines on who owns what?  If you made music under Mavin Records, the music belongs to Mavin, if you signed the proper legal documents evidencing this basic arrangement. You’ve got the sound recording belonging to Mavin. The lyrics and composition also probably belong to Mavin, at least a large portion, given the kinds of agreement I see artists sign with labels in Nigeria with certain aspects in music publishing that differs from us here in the States, so why are we even here?

You clearly did not do this because Wande Coal can produce the original demo song of which he co-authored with you; with no delineation of those rights spelt out. Are we suppose to cry or be sad for you? Why?

As Wande Coal correctly indicated in his tweet, Jazzy has Coal’s phone number and contacts and could have easily contacted him to resolve the dispute, privately. He did not do so. Instead, he chose to follow an impulsive, selfish and egotistical act on twitter that instantly shifted the attention from the release of Tiwa Savage’s beautiful ‘Eminado’ video, all in less than twenty four hours, to a showing to the world that Nigeria’s music industry and its leaders have no focus, no direction and is a big joke.

When was the last time you saw any of the  label heads in the USA, including Jimmy Lovine, Diddy and even Kanye West  get on twitter to fight artists who allegedly steal their work?

Okay. Hold up. Wait a minute. Don Jazzy, if you are invoking the law and claiming infringement of your “intellectual property” what exactly are we doing on twitter? That’s all legal speak which means lawyers get involved to either help work things out and get you compensated on some licensing deal, for the sampling or explicit copying of your work, or we get into the courtroom. What are we doing on twitter?

I am truthfully exhausted with the frequency/rate of foolishness coming out of the industry from leaders and industry professionals at large. It is alarming and you should be worried about the state of this music ecosystem, if you care both about your country and music, in general. This is unacceptable.

Don Jazzy owns Mavin Records. Tiwa co-owns 323 with T-Billz. Shouldn’t Don Jazzy at this point in his career know that he undermines the marketing and selling of Tiwa Savage’s song with this foolishness? What’s the brand partnership agreement they signed? Anyone have a copy because there should be a clause preventing this kind of behavior. Yes, I am really tired with the foolishness.

Our industry is just looking a big mess  and very stupid to me right about now. We look foolish both locally and internationally. We act stupid with our business ventures, we are very reactionary on social media, we let egos get in the way, from the likes of Jason Njoku to his ex-CEO Michael Ugwu. Y’all didn’t think that I thought Ugwu came with clean hands did you? He was one of the first shouting on AML, right here, when I questioned the rapid jump and growth of IROKO into the music market under IROKING, about how I was dead wrong and all the m/billion page views IROKO received blah, blah.

Well, what happened? Ugwu was the CEO of IROKING, and he did not deliver. That was his terrain. Granted Jason Njoku’s egotistical self got in the way and he released the foolish press release that created what has to be the worse PR and disgraceful employer/employee and pr fail ever for a new brand; but nevertheless, what the heck? IROKING is being scrapped under Ugwu’s watch as CEO. What happened to all the “b/million” views et al. Ugwu had a responsibility to also deliver.

Have y’all heard of Chinedu Echeruo? The Nigerian-American who created HotStop in New York and this year allegedly sold the company to Apple for $1Billion? For all the years Echeruo helped build and operate his company,you never heard the fella display the kind of ego that he should arguably display. As he said, he checked it at the door, and today, we all point to him as a shinning example of what a successful Nigerian owned business and entrepreneur should look like.

Can we all take a page from Echeruo i.e. have a healthy dose of humility, get your entertainment business in order and have even more humility? Who said it would be easy? Practice!

Our industry was exciting, fun, young and filled with so much hope but in less than two years, it looks a shamble. From 9ice, Mo’Hits, Knight House, Storm 360 to eLDee (I am unsure why everyone keeps leaving Trybes Records, including Sarz, of late), EME, to Chocolate City and so many other labels in between, you gotta ask, what the heck is going on? Our creativity is at an all time low and we spew nonsense both on our airways and in our music videos thinking we can sustain this industry with the mess. Industry, what’s really good? Is this it? Like are we for real? Many of you who read AML are industry leaders. What’s really good, leaders? Seriously?

Artists walking out on label and management deals like they are visiting red light districts for one night stands, labels with no basic music business skills promising artists heaven and earth and getting screwed, plus left with heavy debts to deal with, diarrhea on twitter from industry heads and professionals who should know better as a means to resolve their legal issues and the list goes on. Common folks, give me a freaking break!

We want to be like the West, yet we lack the common sense to set the legal precedent and have our Nigerian courts determine legal issues that can move our society forward; to ensure the sustainability and success of our industry. Jesus, what’s with this foolishness? Really? Why do we as a community of business owners and industry professionals keep choosing to display juvenile behavior on social media platforms that really undermine the industry; and also affect our sister industries like fashion and film?

We are now at an age where the young ones look up to us and WE MUST respect ourselves with our dealings in front of them and with them. The baton has passed on to us and we are doing a terrible job as it stands with how we carry on with the business of music and resolving our issues. If we have issues with our young ones, then sort them out privately because if we can’t respect those behind us, guess what, they won’t respect us either and what lies ahead will not be pretty for us.

I, for the life of me, have no idea why we are even here. Can anyone tell me? Oh! Don Jazzy says Wande Coal stole his song from him. Don Jazzy at every step of this particular brouhaha clearly failed to protect the alleged rights stolen, which is unacceptable from a seasoned businessman, artist and music producer WHO WAS THE LABEL BOSS FOR A YOUNG MAN THAT HAS WORKED WITH AND LOOKED UP TO HIM FOR HIS ENTIRE CAREER! But, oh! We are suppose to cry with him on twitter. Because why?

Oh! And don’t get me started on COSON, MCSN and all the other entities adding to the current foolishness in the industry.

*Sigh* I’m tired from all the foolishness. Sheesh.

-Uduak

 

Don Jazzy v Wande Coal 1

Don Jazzy v Wande Coal 2

Don Jazzy v Wande Coal 3

Don Jazzy v Wande Coal 4

Don Jazzy v Wande Coal 5

Don Jazzy v Wande Coal 6

Don Jazzy v Wande Coal 7

Don Jazzy v Wande Coal 8

Don Jazzy v Wande Coal 9

Don Jazzy v Wande Coal 10

Don Jazzy v Wande Coal 11

Wande Coal’s Demo

[audio:https://www.africamusiclaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/BABYFACE_ROFF.mp3]

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AFRICA MUSIC LAW™ (AML) is a pioneering music business and entertainment law blog and podcast show by Fashion and Entertainment Lawyer Ms. Uduak Oduok empowering the African artist and Africa's rapidly evolving entertainment industry through brilliant music business and entertainment law commentary and analysis, industry news, and exclusive interviews.

Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Ms. Uduak is also a Partner and Co-Founder of Ebitu Law Group, P.C. where she handles her law firm’s intellectual property law, media, business, fashion, and entertainment law practice areas. She has litigated a wide variety of cases in California courts and handled a variety of entertainment deals for clients in the USA, Africa, and Asia.

Her work and contributions to the creative industry have been recognized by numerous organizations including the National Bar Association, The American University School of Law and featured in prestigious legal publications in the USA including ABA Journal and The California Lawyer Magazine. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the prestigious Academy of Arts University in San Francisco.
For legal representation inquiries, please email (uduak@ebitulawgrp.com). For blog related inquiries i.e. advertising, licensing, or guest interview requests, please email (africamusiclaw@gmail.com). Thank you for visiting Africa Music Law™.

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13 Comments

  1. Jabz says:

    An embarrassing mess. Especially when you consider that Don Jazzy is one of the most bankable names in Nigerian entertainment in terms of brand equity. He's just shaved that off with this lack of self-control.

  2. Dear Ms. Uduak Oduok,

    I know you are an Entertainment Attorney and I would be [b]”foolish”[/b] to want to debate with you on this topic; but I have a few observations which I would like to share.

    1. Your write up, or should I call it a “discuss”; comes off more as a transcript to a verbal argument than a material for reading. You carelessly used the word [b]FOOLISH[/b] in several sections to express your disgust for their actions (Don Jazzy’s especially). This seemed pretty harsh and unnecessary for someone of your academic status. Your view on the matter also seemed very biased and unattached to the reality that we are Nigerians and not Americans.

    2. Your paragraphs were more of vents than of sharing valid legal clarifications to drive home the essence of your “discuss”. Making comments like [quote author=yunfazz] “However, while writing, I just got tired, like really tired of the state of the industry and the foolishness being served of late.” [/quote]

    and more comments like

    [quote author=yunfazz] “Eyin Nigerian artists eti su mi, really (you Nigerian artists make me weary, really). Sheesh. Y’all can be off the hook, many times.” [/quote]

    made you sound like a law undergraduate gossiping about a dispute she witnessed in the common room of her hostel.

    3. Clearly Don Jazzy did not have the stomach to digest what had just happened so he reacted. No one subscribes to going on twitter to vent but please cut the brother some slack. You dissected him like he committed a crime against humanity (or should i say “against the entertainment industry”). If his plan was to expose Wande Coal as a fraud by going on twitter….. take it or leave it; it worked! It sure would leave a sour taste in his mouth for a while but hey… this is Nigeria, everyone forgets and moves on.

    4. Once again I read through your lonnnnnnnng write up and I think the reason why people complained about its length was because it lacked the depth of concrete logical criticisms. Next time you want to vent, please go on twitter and make it short.

    Wink!!!

    1. Franklin,

      1. This your comment sef. You ought to be arrested for such lengthy discussion when your goal is to teach me to be short. 🙂 Four Paragraphs, haba. Also, you start off your statement saying you would be "foolish" to debate with me, and then try to school me for using the same word. *Confused.*

      2. Come o, so because I have "academic status" I cannot use Pidgin, speak Yoruba or even have the sense to know when an act is "foolish" and say so? That is a new one. Thankfully you were not in charge of conferring my "academic status" or else I would have been in trouble.

      If you would like "legal clarifications," click the applicable tab i.e. legal drama or music law and have some healthy servings of such. This post is filed under the category of music business, wrong post Franklin.

      Your other points are not, with all due respect, worth even commenting on.

      Wink!!!

      Cheers,
      Uduak

  3. Pbundles says:

    I must say that Im a bit surprised over your comments, as this is coming from an attorney of law, supposedly within the Entertainment industry. I myself though within the banking industry for over 20 years, have been in the music publishing side for a long time. I have either licensed and/or supplied music for mainly Film and TV, with writing credits and work with labels. I think your assertion is a subjective based on Twitter comments. You of all people should know that stealing a song of copyright infringement happens all the time. Usher, Will I am, Justin Bieber and recently Blurred lines just to name a few of very many. To call this business foolishness would imply that all of the artist I mentioned are also fools. You know just as well as I do that copyright infringement can be very grey and the most painful being when someone you trust decides to make use of your works. Now Im not saying that this was the case, but taking into consideration that DJazzy produces and Wande doesn’t, it seems that this may be a work that they either worked with together or DJazzy may have produced for him. We may never know and maybe Djazzy could have been a bit more political ( a call to Wande wouldn’t have hurt) but the music was already released. In the states, a lawyer would seek the label to desist, dont know how it works in Nigeria, but I have also seen Artist take to Social Media when they felt their works were be violated. Mainly because it garners enough steam and publicity.

    1. PBundles/Dapadre – You are focusing on the merits of the alleged infringement. I made it clear my blog post has nothing to do with that. I am focused on marketing, branding, public relations and the best medium, as a business owner and leader in Nigeria's entertainment industry, to settle disputes. I strongly reject the notion that twitter is the platform to do so. I also remain unapologetic in my stance. Further, all of the cases you cite, are currently being litigated in a US court of law. I would like to see evidence of Pharell Williams, Robin Thicke, Will.I.am taking the battle to twitter. Thicke and Williams filed a declaratory judgment/relief with the court. They didn't even wait to be sued. They took proactive steps. Usher is no stranger to the court system and he is yet to, despite his drawn out drama with Tameka Foster, get on twitter acting a fool. We have to distinguish the two.

      We can get into the merits of whether an alleged copyright infringement exists. But truthfully, from what is out there disseminated by both parties, it is a messy one as there are important missing facts. Our industry MUST get better, especially our leaders, with getting on twitter to raise or resolve legal grievances. The implication of calling a young artist a thief is not only defamatory/libelous, but has the ability to cripple his career. Don Jazzy was ridiculous and should have known better.

      (By the way, how is the behavior on twitter exhibited by our industry heads on the ground different? In real life, someone can accuse you of stealing in a Nigerian society and before you can state your case, the mobs gather, call you thief and stone you to death. This psyche, coercion and intimidation is carried out online as well. Don Jazzy engaged in cyber bullying tactics knowing how influential he is and that he had a different medium to resolve this issue. Even if Wande Coal is a thief, let's resolve the issue in a more civilized manner i.e. through the criminal justice system, if applicable, or the civil IP courts).

      Thanks for your comment.

      -Uduak

  4. SKSKSKSK says:

    Udual I am disappointed in you, you cannot sit behind your computer and conclude on what was or wasnt written on paper. The main point is that Wande didnt write the song yet he used the lyrics and he took sample of what Don produced and asked a producer to do a similar work, end off. So clearly Wande is at fault. It is then Don's role to decide if he wants the whole long court battle or if he intends to use this opportunity to tell the world that though wande left – he can't do without him because he feels the need to still use his work but ashamed to give Don credit. Your focus should be on artists who take people's work without confirming it is in writting – as it is evident that Wande felt this will just pass as per one time padi. Yes he didn't phone Wande before publicly calling him out, that is the same way Wande didn't phone him before pinching the beat and lyrics. I think as someone who cares about the law like you say you do, you should be glad Don publicly called him out because that is the only way Wande and other artistes can learn how important it is to do things on paper or at least seek informal consent before using someone's property insteady of continuously famzing.

    1. Stick to the issues."Sit behind a computer," in future, will be deleted, as I have deleted other similarly aligned comments. I don't have the time. What relevance does me sitting behind a computer, beyond the fact that I dedicate time till early morning of the hours I don't have and uncompensated to give back to my community, have to do with the issue? Also, "disappointed" in you? Common. AML is all about independent thinking and the ability to criticize and make your own conclusions yourself. This is not a platform where you are disappointed because the author or fellow commenter has a differing opinion from you. It is a platform you educate, elevate and possibly persuade.

      The issue on this post is not the merits of the case i.e. did Wande Coal actually infringe on the work of Don Jazzy. He may or may not have. I am yet to get to that review or analysis. The facts however, as presented, by both, may lead to a different conclusion but it is scanty at best. It is also not a Copyright Issue exclusively as other areas of the law especially Nigerian company and Labour law come into play.

      Therefore, for the purpose of the article, the focus and central question is: whether a prominent CEO of a prominent record label in Nigeria, should take to twitter to call his ex-artist a thief when there is mediation, arbitration or a court of law to settle such a dispute? At a minimum, a simple phone call to Coal could have possibly resulted in some sort of amicable licensing fee paid, assuming there is in fact sampling of work or explicit copyright infringement.

      I answer that question with a strong "NO." I think this public castigation of persons with no complete facts and simply to curry public favor is precisely why we have the situations like the ALUU 4, among others. We should not bring the mob mentality online and we continue to do so, and I am not down with that.

      Cheers,
      Uduak

  5. green eye bandit says:

    Uduak you really went HAM on these guys and i guess on the industry too and i think it was the best thing to do. We need to wake up, we trying to be the west, we trying to win grammys and blah blah , now how are we going to win,when our so called leaders in the music industry keep on displaying their foolishness on twitter. Don jazzy on the other hand should know better that as a business man shld know better. Did he not learn any lesson from the mo hits break up. Dbanj will be somewhere now drinking coffee and eating okin biscuit laffing at them. And am shocked to see comments like "Uduak am disappointed in you" disappointed ? how ? do you guys pay her rent.. abeg shift jare. Udak had to vent so park one corner. peace !!!

    1. Blogging for a total of six years, two of which is now focused on music law in Nigeria's music industry, you see day in and day out, issues that continue to hinder us collectively as a people. Sometimes, it gets to be a bit much. Just needed to let industry leaders I know for sure who read my blog, including Don Jazzy, know that we need to step up our game and come up higher, collectively, as professionals and as a people.

      Thanks for the comment.

      -Uduak

  6. Olorogun Mark Adigbo (Macmoets) says:

    Uduak!!! you are wrong, i repeat ”Wrong”, Didnt Michelle Obama responded to Kanye West” via the social media as well, they only way to drag Wande to order was twitter and YES, that serves him right, did he ”CALL DON JAZZY PHONE” before PRODUCING the song???so why do you expect DON to CALL him before shouting out??? All ya sentimental writers, Education is now a problem i must comment, you are too educated to distinguished the truth from the bad rather pointing fingers at a man who cries out for his credit to be given to him, have you ”UDUAK” ever stepped into ”THE NIGERIA COURT ROOM” and see how frustrating it is??? oh Don Jazzy doesnt wanna spent years crying for justice in our FAILED Judicial system. Wande is as guilty as accused. ”THIEF”.

    1. @Olorugun – LOL! Your comment is very funny to me.

      "All ya sentimental writers, Education is now a problem i must comment, you are too educated to distinguished the truth from the bad ."

      On the one hand, we are "too educated" but then on the flip side, we are also "sentimental." Which one is it? Also, why the caps and the exclamation marks? You are the less sentimental one, so what's the fuss all about?

      The way you string words together is funny to me.

      No, I have never stepped in Nigeria's courtroom. I wouldn't mind though. In fact, I would LOVE to. I hope they don't see me coming either. LOL! I do know the likes of attorneys for COSON, MCSN and Chocolate CIty have, and they seem to be having the court grant their requests, at least within entertainment law context/disputes.

      As to Don Jazzy spending years "crying for justice?" LOL! That is the funniest statement ever. LOL! You do know you are talking about a CEO, known globally, who has endorsement deals across Africa, and the resources to hire the best attorneys to represent him. What world do you live in?

      I would grant you the part that Nigeria's justice system especially as to our tort, family, juvenile and criminal laws, among others, needs CPR. But commercial and contract law, now that is a whole different ball game.

      As to IP, Don Jazzy is not even making an attempt in federal court. So what failure?

      Do read this: https://www.africamusiclaw.com/analysis-between-don-ja

      Cheers,
      Uduak

  7. Chukwuyere says:

    Uduak,

    Your logic is based on facts which you assume to be true. Since you’re not privy to all that happened between Don Jazy and Wande Coal you have a less than 50% of been correct. You also came across as too hard in this post but you must understand that this is a clear case of music sampling and whether or not legal documents were drawn up would never have prevented this from happening.

    1. @Chukwuyere, Na wa o. Your own sef. What "logic"? What "assumptions?" How you take convert my post on publicity and branding to a discussion on the merits of this case i.e. whether WC sampled or stole from DJ? Abeg cool down for Jesus, biko. For the intellectual games, follow the following link to the merits of the case and please on that post, make we yarn once you read it. We can talk logic and assumptions there. I am indeed curious on your take: https://www.africamusiclaw.com/analysis-between-don-ja
      By the way, what does Chukwuyere mean? I presume "God" is a part of that i.e. "Chukwu"? What about the "yere" part?

      Thanks for your comment.

      Cheers,
      Uduak

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