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George-Nelson Uzoma (CCE): criticizing sir Jude Nnam

Among the first things I learnt in the major seminary is the idea of scientificity of work and citation.

Right from our earliest days, we were taught that plagiarism is a crime and such an action earns you automatic expulsion. We had this famous but funny axiom: “to copy no be crime, but whenever you copy, do not forget to cite accurately”.

I think the standard is the same everywhere and at least, every graduate should be at home with the idea of acknowledging the author or originator or any idea which he or she wants to adapt in his work.

Late last year, I read a post about Curtis Jackson, popularly known as 50 cent, and our revered Chinua Achebe. Jackson had wanted to name his movie “Things fall Apart”, the same title with Achebe’s most famous book. It was alleged that the movie producers offered Achebe a million dollars for the rights of the title of which he rejected.

The movie’s title was later changed to “All Things Fall Apart”. The Addition of a word “All” solved the equation. The story has a simple message for us all: copyright and using of materials or songs without the knowledge of the real owner is a punishable offence by the law.

The recent case of the law suit between Sir Jude Nnam and the Famous Five star pop artist Kcee calls our mind to deep thinking. My concern is not the actual outcome of the case; their legal representatives will interpret better. But my major worry is that Ignorance is taking an apotheosized role in Nigeria. I have actually underestimated the level of decay in the Nigerian educational sector.

I have ponderingly followed the reactions from supposed graduates in Nigeria both on Facebook and other social media platforms and I must say, certain comments by the supposed university graduates and students on this issue leaves one to wonder whether or not there is a hope for the nation. Abnormality is becoming normal in Nigeria and that calls for concern.

Among the famous response to the issue are: Jude Nnam is just hungry, He needs money and attention, this is a Catholic song and we have been hearing it since we were born (as if it was handled over to us by the Apostles), some Christians are just greedy, Igbo fighting against Igbo et cetera.

The fact that people still find no reasons behind Jude Nnam’s position is really scandalous. It baffles me when people fail to recognize intellectual theft and plagiarism even on a broad day light.

Sincerely, I enjoyed the “Cultural Praise Vol.1” by Kcee and the song is superb but the fact of not acknowledging the original composer or singer of a song or making a disclaimer regarding the song either at the introductory part or at the end is a very big omission.

No matter how one tries to justify it, copyright infringement is a very serious case. You cannot use someone’s song to reap millions without acknowledging the owner of the song.

There is a copyright law that protects every music. Indeed, the song was composed and recently registered copyright as a property belonging to the man claiming the ownership. Sir Nnam has many witnesses and he was even interviewed by BBC Igbo on his music of which he laid claims to some of his songs including “Somtochukwu”.

Intellectual property right is the greatest asset you can think of any day and this is the best thing Jude Nnam has done to us in this generation. An artist is not doing you favor by playing your song, voice, book, poem, brand, or even showing your home, but there should be a signed consent to get such done especially in this era.

The Article 27 (No.2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states clearly: “Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author”.

The composer had profit motives when he released it in 2001, not charity motives. Kcee releasing a cover of the song without proper contract agreement is damage to his prior power over his original ownership and this will result to limited sales of his said song and album. Songs resonates just like fluctuations in Forex charts.

An eventful day in history might increase sales of the song by great percentage, thus, he could be making occasional profits. And let’s not leave part of the honor of being the composer of a great Ibo Christian hit song. The two brothers replayed that music strictly for business without the consent of the owner and therefore should be made to pay for the damages. Learn to consult the owner of any work before commercializing it.

Kcee actually made merchandise from someone’s sweat without common recognition, it’s completely wrong . Singing those songs in church and ceremonies isn’t the issue but why make an album out of it and giving an impression that it is your work?

This also happens almost every day in the movie industry. Movie makers spend millions producing a movie and someone under a building has equipment to mass produce it and sell for 50 naira without having the slightest idea what it takes to handle a production.

Imagine if someone makes a remix with Kcee’s Limpopo and makes huge money, how would he feel about it? Funny enough, he might have more cases from the composers of the other songs that made up his album.

It might appear saddening how a great combination by Kcee which lifted up our spirits and made us appreciate certain Christian songs becomes a clear example of piracy. We feel bad about it but our reasons must surpass our emotions here.

Like Newton (influenced by Aristotle) I say: “Sir Jude Nnam is my friend, Kcee is my friend but truth is my greatest friend”. We should simply pray that they resolve amicably but the truth remains: in as much as it is a bitter pill to swallow, Sir Jude Nnam is 100% Right!

Thanks to Sir Jude Nnam for educating Nigerian Graduates.

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