Legendary and popular Nigerian Musician, Dr. Victor Uwaifo, accuses singer Simi,for “stealing” his intellectual property and hit song from way back, ‘Joromi’ and reproducing the song without following due process or even contacting him.
Dr. Uwaifo who released the hit song ‘Joromi’ way back in 1969 says the song, which brought him worldwide recognition and fortune, has now become a victim of intellectual property theft as Simi didn’t appreciate him been the real owner of the property or to give credit to him when she released her own version in 2017 which won her the Best Recording of the Year 2017 at the 12 edition of the Headies awards which was held days ago.
During an interview with Sahara Reporters at the Annual General Meeting of Copyright Society of Nigeria COSON, held at Sheraton Hotels, Ikeja, Lagos, the legendary singer, Dr. Victor Uwaifo described copyright and Intellectual property theft as a very serious issue in Nigeria, that have not been taken as serious as it should be as nowadays people can reproduce other peoples intellectual property and nothing will happen to them, saying property intellectual theft must be dealt with urgently as it is reducing the creativity of the new generation of Musicians.
According to him, the process of making music has changed dramatically from what it used to be in his time, as “more mediocres” are now in the game.
“Copyright is a very serious business and the contravention of copyright laws is more serious than you can imagine,” the Professor of Art told to SaharaReporters. People still believe that someone can just pick somebody’s work, which we call intellectual property right, and use it for his own benefit of the detriment of the composer, the man who actually created the work.
It takes a lot of time and someone with high creativity to create a work that is worth copying or worth republishing after years since it was first done. It takes a lot of research to be able to come out with a piece of work. You know one single track is equivalent to research journal and then a whole record is equivalent to a book publication, so most people don’t understand the dynamics of these things, they don’t know. You don’t just wake up in the university then you just write anything down and you call it a journal or a book. It takes a lot of research to be able to do one piece of music. The composition, the lyrics, the music, the score, the arrangement, the production, producers and backup singers and booking of the studio all cost money, and someone will just come and take the work and use it as their own or probably do an advert on it.”
Uwaifo recalled how he sued soft drinks giant, Pepsi for N500million for using one of his songs for advertising one of their product without following the due process. “Pepsi used my song ‘Arabade,’” he said.
“I’m suing Pepsi for N500million; the case is already at the Federal High Court in Benin.” When asked if he was going to take any legal action against Simi, he replied: “One after the other. I cannot just take everybody to court at the same time.
An LP was sent as a compliment; I’m still looking at it but they were planning to come to Benin to see me; up till now, they haven’t showed up , so I’m just putting that one on hold. ‘Joromi’ is a franchise; the name never existed before I did it. The Benin people don’t have “J” in their language; if anything started with ‘J’ in Benin then it is fake. All consonant words start with vowel sounds. Let’s say for instance , if I use the trademark of one of these soft drinks without their permission, it is wrong and illegal . So what Simi did isn’t right, she didn’t even contacted me through any means whatsoever, she just did the whole thing without my consent. I have decided to take legal actions against her and her manager.”