Popular new school Nigerian musician, Joseph Akinwale Akinfenwa-Donus, popularly known as Joeboy, has been slammed with a copyright infringement notice for Contour by Asa and her team.
What you need to know
Earlier this year, record producer Michael Chigozie Alagwu popularly known as Tempoe who is responsible for songs such as Omah Lay’s Godly, Ckay’s Love Nwantiti and Blaq Bonez’s Shut up, and Joeboy’s smash hit Sip (Alcohol), sued Asa and P.prime over copyright issues, which resulted in Asa removing her song with Grammy-nominated Wizkid, IDG, and another one titled Love Me or Give Me Red Wine off her recently released V album. Tempoe said that he had originally made the beats for those records, but after he and Asa failed to conclude financially she approached P.prime to remake those beats. Tempoe was able to get an injunction and had the songs taken off DSPs.
The fallout of Tempoe’s suit
On August 19, 2022, Joeboy released his second single of the year, an afro-fusion tune titled Contour, which was produced by Tempoe. Contour features a calm energy and Joeboy followed the record’s release with some amazing visuals. A few weeks after the release of the song, Joeboy was served a notice which claimed that the song Contour infringed on the copyright of Asa.
What Asa’s team is saying
According to the letter, Contour infringed on the copyright of a musical composition that was created by Asa in a recording session that took place on September 22nd, 2022, with Tempoe in attendance at the said session. Joeboy’s Contour was produced by Tempoe, and Asa claims Tempoe was present in one of her recording sessions when he heard that sound and went on to remake it on Contour. The notice, which was served on September 30th, demanded that Joeboy remove the song from all digital streaming platforms within twenty-four hours, issue a written apology to Asa, pay a N300 million fine, and assign Asa a sixty-percent publishing split on the record before it is republished.
Joeboy’s reactions to the notice
Joeboy, who posted the letter on his Instagram page on Monday, October 3rd, 2022, merely laughed off the notice. He went on to challenge Asa to take another step following the issued notice. He wrote “Cos I dey always do love and light you think sey I be soft meat. You said I have 24 hours, it’s been 48 hours, do something.”
Here is Joeboy’s response pic.twitter.com/8KaQjKs2kr
— BASITO (@itzbasito) October 4, 2022
Why do suits like this matter in the industry?
Nigerian artists or producers pursuing litigation is generally very rare because a majority of artists and producers seldom knew their rights and when they do- it’s rare for them to pursue enforcement. These pursuits of litigation serve as an opportunity to set precedents that govern artistic relations and get rid of the culture of nonchalance and “anyhowness” that the Nigerian music industry has gotten accustomed to while helping to strengthen the industry and contractual relations within it.
Where are we now?
Joeboy is set to release his new single Likkle Riddim this Friday, while Asa and her team are yet to make any public comments regarding the whole situation. However, some Twitter users have said that the Contour record is no longer available on their streaming platforms while others are still vibing to the tune. Some people have also expressed that they’ve regained a new love for the record thanks to this lawsuit and think that this could be a marketing stunt.