• Saturday, July 13, 2024
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BusinessDay

The copyrights in timeless

Modifications to fair dealing and other exceptions under the new Copyright Act

The American-born Nigerian singer, songwriter and record producer, David Adedeji Adeleke, popularly known as “Davido” recently released his fourth studio album titled “Timeless”. The said album was released on March 31, 2023. Since its release, it has drawn global attention in the entertainment industry.

On a similar note, popular fuji musician Wasiu Ayinde popularly known as Kwam 1 or K1 de Ultimate who popularized a brand of the fuji genre that appeals to all age groups, irrespective of tribe and background also announced his soon to be released 49th album also titled “Timeless” which will be released on April 14, 2023.

The release of Timeless album by Davido and subsequent announcement by K1 de Ultimate to also release his timeless album has attracted netizens attention. The Fuji musician is being fiercely criticized and dragged on social media by fans of Davido. They accused K1 de Ultimate of plagiarism and copyright infringement.

Meanwhile K1 de Ultimate timeless album was said to have been recorded as far back as 2022. In fact, K1 de Ultimate announced the completion of timeless on his instagram page sometimes in 2022.

Davido’s fans consider this as an intention by K1 de Ultimate to use the attention and popularity of Davido’s timeless album in promoting himself and also his soon to be released album.

Assuming K1 de Ultimate use of timeless is a copyright infringement on Davido’s timeless album, it would be totally wrong to conclude or argue that he was using it to promote himself and trade.

It is important to state here that K1 de Ultimate aside having his own fan base and brand of music which appeals to all age groups, irrespective of tribe and background has popularizes and achieved international stardom way before Davido’s entry into the music industry.

Notwithstanding, the fundamental issue for consideration is whether there is a copyright infringement as alleged by Davido’s fans.

Copyright infringement is a violation of the exclusive right of the owner of a copyrighted work; acts without the permission or authorization of the author of a work- Section 15 of the Copyright Act.

Arguments and allegations by fans that K1 de Ultimate has infringed on the copyright of Davido’s timeless album title are out of place. Titles of creative works are not eligible for copyright protection in Nigeria.

Song titles, book titles, poem titles, album titles, movie titles, etc cannot be copyrighted. The closest to this is trademark protection which is a subject for another day.

Titles are considered too short to be truly expressive and to enjoy copyright protection. The Copyright Act in a bid to protect intellectual property protects “original works of authors.

Timeless cannot be considered as an original work of an author. Copyrights are intended to incentivize creativity and the effort it takes to be creative by protecting original expression. Timeless is not an original expression, it is simply a title.

The Copyright Commission does not register titles because they do not have the “minimum amount of creative authorship” required for registration.

Section 1(1) of the Copyright Act makes provision for works that are eligible for copyright protection which are literary works, musical works, artistic works, cinematograph films, sound recordings; and broadcasts.

Section 1(2) further states that a literary, musical or artistic work shall not be eligible for copyright unless “sufficient effort” has been expended on making the work to give it an original character… Hence, an individual cannot lay claim to copyright over a title.

Thus, the copyright infringement arguments, submissions and allegations against K1 de Ultimate in regards the title of his album “Timeless” is really out of placed and should be discountenanced.

There is a likelihood that these netizens are mistaking copyright protection to protection that may exist in any association, union or group in any industry that protects work titles of its members where copyright and trademark laws do not apply.

Members in such industry usually agree not to use titles that are already used without permission. Any disputes or breach of this agreement is resolved privately in line with the agreed terms and condition of the members of the association.

However, no one has said Davido and K1 de Ultimate belong to an association with such kind of regulation, protection, understanding or agreement.

Hence, Davido’s timeless and K1 de Ultimate timeless albums are mere titles and none infringes on the other.

ADICK JOSHUA