Law & Policy

J-Martins’ ‘Ereke’ is so Sweeeeet but why why did he have to Copy P-Square’s ‘Roll It’ and ‘You & Me’? #Copyright Infringement?

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Ain’t nobody know how to make sweet, sweet, sweet music like J-Martins! His music, for me, “sweet pass the sweetest plate of amala and ewedu and the best of the best shaki meats,” something I have not had in like 20years and crave badly. He kills it everytime he touches music and it lodges in a place in my brain that makes me focus on choreography moves to give his music my true blessings. Whether it is “Oyoyo” which remains one of my all time favorite to his current guaranteed hit banger ‘Ereke,’ he creates music bliss where you are just so happy about life and everything.

‘Ereke’ is definitely baby making music. So, to all the fellas reading this, if you do not want babies, don’t play ‘Ereke’ when your girl comes over. #Endofstory

So, here I am enjoying and preparing to do a couple of 8 counts to ‘Ereke’ when I realized, “wait! Hold up. Isn’t J-Martins “give it to me” copying the exact lines and sound recording from P-Square’s ‘You and Me’ with Cindy of Uganda?” While I was still pondering that, I heard “I like it!” and thought, “Oh definitely. Daaang! Homie just pulled the tear sheet off P-Square’s ‘Roll It.

Now if this was a Western music market like the USA, entertainment lawyers like myself would have been falling all over ourselves to stop ‘Ereke’dead in its tracks, assuming there was no permission to use the sound recordings and/ lines from P-Square’s ‘Roll it’ and ‘You and Me’.

P-Square’s camp would be screaming legal blood and they would be in a courtroom asking for an injunction, an accounting and payment for all sales made to date from the infringed songs. But, we are in Nigeria.

While Nigeria’s copyright laws afford similar remedies like USA laws, the truth of the matter is, most artists do not bother doing anything when their songs are stolen.

Also, this case most likely is not an issue of copyright infringement because P-Square has worked and continues to work very closely with J-Martins on numerous projects. In addition, J-Martins also has other invested partners like Storm 360,so I doubt he would be exposing them to liability or negative media attention like that. There is a high probability he obtained the permission he needed to use the portions he did from those two songs. Assuming he did not, then we would have a major issue of copyright infringement under Nigerian law.

While Nigeria’s music industry professionals are yet to use the legal system to file copyright infringement lawsuits, we have seen  artists become more aware and bring media attention to alleged claims of copyright infringements. Last year, singer Waje accused P-Square of Copyright Infringement in their hit song ‘Do Me.” This year Steph Nora accused P-Square of copyright infringement in their song “Jeje.”

Both ladies have since resolved their disputes and Waje even collaborated with P-Square on a subsequent project.

Nevertheless, given how rapidly our industry is evolving, I anticipate copyright infringement lawsuits will soon be one of those accusations and legal drama we will see in Nigeria, USA, UK and Ghana courtrooms as Nigerian music continues to infiltrate every corner of the earth. Nigerian artists will sue each other, they will sue non-Nigerians, they will sue corporate companies in and out of Nigeria and similarly, other non-Nigerians will sue Nigerian artists, labels etc, for copyright infringements, among the many legal claims possible.

On the Western end, we’ve see Eminem aggressively sue to protect his copyrights when it is infringed on. We’ve seen Indian artists drag Jay-Z to court for copyright infringement. Mary J. Blige, Keri Hilson, Black Eyed Peas are just a few of the many celebrities that have also been sued for copyright infringement for some of their biggest hit songs.

LEGAL TIP: Artists get permission i.e. clearances before you use any song that does not belong to you. Given the backward copyright registration and processes in Nigeria (Nigeria lacks a centralized registration system), there are many sites online to check to make sure you are not infringing on anyone’s copyrights. Key ones I recommend, in terms of music, are 360Nobs.com, Iwantairplay.com, Truspot.com, Gidilounge.com, Nigerianhiphop.net, DJmightymike.net, Notjustok.com and museke.com. The aforementioned websites have a very large database of mp3s and music videos from Nigerian artists. So, if you just do your basic due diligence, you are bound to avoid using the song of another artist/label. If you like what you see and want to use these songs, it is easy to directly contact the artist on Facebook to negotiate payment or through the website owners of the sites I mentioned above to get contact information for these artists.

Don’t forget to also google or check on Reverbnation and Facebook fan pages to rule out copying the work of another artist.

Ereke by J-MARTINS!

[audio:https://www.africamusiclaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Ereke-by-J-Martins-www.africamusiclaw.com_.mp3|titles=Ereke by J-Martins www.africamusiclaw.com]

P-Square ‘Roll It’
[audio:https://www.africamusiclaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/P-Square-Roll-It.mp3|titles=P-Square ‘Roll It’]

Cindy ft. P-Square ‘You and Me’
[audio:https://www.africamusiclaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Cindy-Sanyu-ft.-P-Square-You-and-Me-africamusiclaw.com_.mp3|titles=Cindy Sanyu ft. P Square You and Me africamusiclaw.com]

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Africa Music Law™

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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