Did Wisekid really commit an offence by copying Wizkid's 'Made In Lagos'? [Pulse Explainer]
The tracks on Wisekid’s Lasgidi Made share the same title as Wizkid’s Made In Lagos and this had been going on for months.
The tracks on Wisekid’s Lasgidi Made share the same title as Wizkid’s Made In Lagos and this had been going on for months. On Apple Music and Amazon, anytime Wizkid’s name is searched, Wisekid would be part of the results and vice versa.
As the matter became heated, it was alleged that FreeMe, the Michael Ugwu-led label services company distributed Wisekid’s contentious album. However, FreeMee quickly moved to quash those rumours via a thread.
The company writes, “It has come to our notice that an artist by the name of "Wisekid" claims to distribute an album titled 'Lasgidi Made' with our organization. While it is true that he distributes some of his content through our organization, we will like to make it categorically clear that the said, 'Lasgidi Made' album was not distributed via our platform.
“For the purpose of transparency, we have attached below screenshots of the songs/albums that Wisekid distributed through our platform. Freeme Digital as an organization strongly stands against copyright infringement, illegal use of content and digital piracy.
“We will be deleting the rest of Wisekid's content on our platform and we have informed our legal team to immediately commence investigation on the issue and prosecute the matter to the full extent of the law.”
Around 12 hours later, Wizkid’s manager, Jada Pollock tweeted that, “RCA have been actively working on taking down the illegal uploads across all digital platforms from yesterday morning. Relating to the fraudulent “Wisekid” account. Thank you Wizkid FC for your dedication and patience. It does not go unnoticed.”
Did Wisekid really commit an offence?
The simple answer; it’s complicated. It’s not a clear case of impersonation, fraud, misrepresentation or intellectual property theft. He never named himself ‘Wizkid’ and neither did he blatantly title his album, ‘Made In Lagos.’
What he blatantly stole were song titles and nobody holds a monopoly on song titles. The songs on ‘Lasgidi Made’ are also his songs, not Wizkid’s songs.
However, if the prosecution or claimant [Wizkid or RCA] can establish that Wisekid knowingly made ‘Lasgidi Made’ to rip Wizkid off and that Wizkid suffered a significant streaming dip as a result of Wisekid’s actions, then we might have a case on our hands.
But if Wisekid’s defence can establish that he simply played on a popular phenomenon to promote his music and not with the intention to slash Wizkid’s streams, then the claimant’s case could hit roadblocks because the issue would then try to examine causation and eventuality/consequence.
This issue is more about the flaws of music streaming platforms than anything else.
One year ago, a Port Harcourt-based artist named Chigratt did worse. He blatantly stole songs from two American artists and passed them off as his own, gaining acclaim and powerful representation in the process.
What Wisekid did was take advantage of an operational loophole in music streaming, a sector that’s still in development albeit at a fast pace. Naturally, flaws like this will occur sometimes. They will inevitably make streaming platforms create systems of intense scrutiny and make streaming more foolproof.
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