Legal Drama

Legal Drama: Ghana’s Wutah to Sue Nigeria’s Flavour N’abania for Alleged Song Theft #’Kotosa’ #CopyrightInfringement

This is one lawsuit I’d be interested in seeing how it shapes up. Countries like Kenya and Ghana have a more advanced legal system when it comes to clearly delineated laws on copyright infringement and enforcement. Indeed, as more artists from African countries collaborate and also get “inspired” by each other’s cultures, expect to see allegations of copyright infringement and lawsuits follow.

Indeed, I gave heads up on this  when I discussed the South Africa/Cameroon’s Wax who did a really sweet song that reminded me, very much, of one of the songs by Nigeria’s P-Square.

In today’s case, Ghana’s Wutah accuses Nigeria’s Flavour of stealing their song. *SHOCKING! Covers mouth with both hands.*

Let’s cut straight to the potential lawsuit.

Who Would Wutah Sue?

Those with the “deep pockets” i.e lots of money who have infringed on their copyright. This means they can and should  sue the following parties if their attorneys believe they have a case:

1. Flavour
2. IROKO and any other affiliated third parties with deep pockets. IROKO has the song uploaded on You Tube and probably Irokoing. Their agreement also probably has Flavour conveying his intellectual property rights for the digital distribution purposes. So, they should be receiving a summon and complaint just like Flavour, should Wutah sue.

IROKO would then turn around and sue Flavour or seek reimbursements from Flavour depending on the terms of the agreement they have with Flavour, once they clear themselves of the legal drama.

NOTE: Ghana Copyright Act would most likely govern, especially if Wutah sues in Ghana, which would make more sense. Also, AML Ghanaian artists and all artists doing business in Ghana, click Ghana’s Copyright Office Website to have all of your basic questions answered including to download forms to register your music. 

The challenge would be Flavour and IROKO’s lawyers convincing the Ghanaian courts that they should be sued in Nigeria, instead of Ghana. This creates an even bigger fight over venue issues, depending on the laws on the books as to jurisdiction over a citizen of a foreign nation who comes into Ghana and causes harm.

Even if Flavour has never stepped foot in Ghana, if he has distributors that distribute his work in Ghana, that may very well be enough for Ghanaian courts to have personal jurisdiction (power) over him in Ghana in the infringement suit.

“Ghanian music duo, Wutah, may be on the verge of filing a lawsuit against Chinedu Okoli, popularly known as Flavour N’abania, for an alleged theft of intellectual property.

According to reports from the West African country, management of Wutah was displeased that Kwarikwa song released by Flavour bears stark resemblance with their smash hit Kotosa.

The reports accused Flavour of ‘stealing’ the chorus, rhythm, rhyme and the opening saxophone beat used in their song with total disregard for their right as the only legitimate owners of the song.

Kotosa, produced by Appietus, hit the Ghanaian music scene in 2008 before the two parted ways in 2010, while Kwarikwa was released mid 2011 – three years after.

Meanwhile a myjoyonline.com quoted one of the artiste Wutah Kobby, as saying they were consulting their legal advisers and “will pursue him [Flavour] in the right way. .  .” BusinessDay has the full story.

WUTAH – KOTOSA

FLAVOUR – KWARIKWA

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ABOUT THE FOUNDER

Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at https://msuduak.com.

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