To say I was highly vexed when I saw a release, yesterday, of an alleged video for a song titled ‘Oleku’ by Nigeria’s musician Ice Prince, would be an understatement. ‘Oleku’ was a hit song last year in Nigeria with musicians in other African countries attempting remixes. It is also a favorite song of mine, one of the handful enjoying a place on my blackberry’s play list.
Why was I that vexed? As a fan and huge promoter of quality African music, musicians and music videos, I was used to quality and high caliber videos from Chocolate City Records, the label of which Ice Prince is signed to. The ‘Oleku’ video released seemed to undermine the label and the artist’s brand power and credibility; taking them like 20 steps back. It turns out the video was a leaked work.
More specifically, the label hired the services of a video director. Allegedly the finished product had yet to be submitted to the label. While the label waited, they were greeted with a leak of the so called “Oleku” video. News today reports Chocolate City is allegedly angered by the release and is thinking or threatening legal action.
“Contrary to the information that Oleku video has been premiered, the video was leaked onto Youtube by a privileged individual and reliable sources have it that at the time of its release, the video director – Mex – was yet to deliver the edited and ready to view version to the artiste’s management.
The video had received over 300 (now 18,000+) views within the first 24 hours of its release and a large number of comments (including likes and dislikes) with an obvious disapproval from many fans who recognized that the work was the unfinished effort of the team behind the project.
The Chocolate City camp is currently working on taking legal actions over the perpetrators of the leak; you will recall that other Chocolate City acts have suffered similar pre-exposure of unfinished material. Recently, MI’s hit single “One Naira” featuring sultry singer Waje was leaked on an online website ahead of its official release in a bid to attract visitors to the site.
Call it fate or popularity, these leaks are a disregard for the professional capabilities of the concerned artistes, and repeatedly the culprits behind such acts are not made to face the consequences of their actions. If piracy is to be stopped in Nigeria, then who leads the pack and who is responsible for the protection of artistes’ rights when materials which are in most cases unfinished products are already out for mass consummation even without prior notification of the necessary authority, in this case Chocolate City.~ Question Mark Magazine
UDUAK LAW FIRM ANALYSIS
Brand Reputation: If it is true that the label will consider legal action, I will be the first to admit I am HAPPY to hear that. Brand reputation is so important and when an artist or label has worked very hard to build one, people shouldn’t overnight just destroy it with their ulterior motives. If they do, then there should be consequences i.e. legal action. The ‘Oleku’ leaked video has since received a huge backlash and negative comments from many fans who were quite disappointed with the lazy, sloppy and below par video produced.
Film Directors Get Your Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreements in Place: All of the above incident is taking place in Nigeria. If you are here in the USA and particularly California and own a production outfit: Videographer, Music Video director etc. you simply cannot afford such exposure to such huge liability, not counting loss of business. Accordingly, you want to make sure the independent contractors you hire or any staff member of your team sign confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements. That agreement should also provide an indemnification clause where such employee/independent contractor will shoulder the cost of litigation should you have to defend your company as a result of their reckless act.
What to Do If You are the Label or Artist: If you are the recipient of a leaked video and you are an artist or label, contact YouTube, inform them it is a direct copyright violation of your work as the users have no consent to release it and demand they take it down. YouTube is usually good at doing so, especially if you have a lawyer help take care of this for you. The same also goes for pirated films, in case you are a filmmaker reading this.
I am still vexed everytime I think of that “leaked” video but the ‘Oleku’ unadulterated song below should relax me a bit. 🙂