Wizkid vs Wisekid saga: what it means legally

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Recently, social media was rife with gist about a certain ‘Wisekid’ fleecing Wizkid of streams to the tune of 9.3 million streams across digital platforms. Streams translate to earnings, so yes, wisekid robbed Wizkid.

wisekid

Wisekid (kinda sounds like wizkid right?) had uploaded a clone of Wizkid’s latest work, Made In Lagos, on digital platforms and not until the heist was discovered by members of Wizkid FC, the impostor had been cashing out a mind-blowing 30 million naira every month since October 2020!

Wizkid Made in Lagos artwork

The clone album called Lasgidi made mirrored Wizkid’s Made in Lagos, differing only by track arrangement and album title.

Lasgidi made tracklist
Made in Lagos tracklist

Although the clone album is not expressly titled Made in Lagos and it is not uncommon for songs by different artistes to share same title, we consider the copyright violations here. (them choke)

In the court of public opinion Wisekid stands guilty already and rightly so, given the unforgivable theft of intellectual property and laying claim to it.

Even though on listening, it’s obvious ‘wisekid’s songs’ are actually the same songs on Wizkid’s album.

We decided to examine the technicalities of copyrights assuming that the songs on Lasgidi made aren’t identical to Wizkid’s Made in Lagos.

looking at the copyrights angle

According to the Nigerian copyright Act, Section 6, the owner of a copyright has the exclusive right to record his/her music, sell or otherwise distribute copies of his/her music in various formats, make new works from his/her original work such as sampling his/her music to create a new song, perform his/her music in public, post their music online, and stream their music.

From the above highlighted we see that Wisekid has directly contravened already by uploading Wiz’s music and claiming ownership and going on to earn from it without acknowledging copyrights.

There is also the question of intentional tort

Also another thing to consider would be the implication of intentional tort.

Intentional torts are wrongful acts that injure or interfere with an individual’s well-being or property. Tort charges are filed by a plaintiff seeking monetary compensation for damages that the defendant must pay if they lose.

Intentional torts could include:

  • Conversion which applies when someone intentionally interferes with personal property belonging to another person.
  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress
  • Fraud/deceit
  • Trespass (to land and property)
  • Defamation

From the above we see that Wisekid’s action of intentional/willfull interference with Wizkid’s intellectual property, such that: the property was wrongfully claimed and wrongfully sold suggest conversion.

Considering the conduct which of Wisekid, which suggests intent to mislead people to stream a clone rather than the original album and thereby get earnings which otherwise would have gone to the original proprietor, a case of intentional tort of fraud/deceit can be pushed.

What can be done?

In the case of tort, the claimant would claim damages.

Damages refers to the sum of money the law imposes for a breach of some duty or violation of some right.

In layman terms, Wizkid should get paid the amount in earnings lost during the period Wisekid was illegally using his property.

Other charges could be pressed too but apart from taking down the clone we are not aware of any other action that Wizkid’s team has taken at the moment.

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