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Olisa Agbakoba Moves To Stop Kizz Daniel’s Concert

Adebola Sobowale, Partner, Olisa Agbakoba Legal (left); Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN and Olaseni Akabashorun, Associate, Olisa Agbakoba Legal, during the press briefing at their Ikoyi Office yesterday

Ahead of Kizz Daniel Live Concert billed for December 26, at the Eko Convention Centre, Lagos, the Olisa Agbakoba Legal has threatened to stop his Boxing Day concert for breach of the mandatory buy-out clause and infringement of the intellectual. The firm is also demanding the sum of N500m as compensation to G-Worldwide Entertainment.

Speaking at a media briefing yesterday in its Ikoyi Office, the Senior Partner of the legal firm, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), said the era where artistes or records label feel they can do whatever they like, even under contract, is over.

“We are going to make an example of Kizz Daniel with this case. Part of what we want to do is to strengthen the legal framework around the creative industry so that you will know that if you entre into a contract, it’s a contract.”

The renowned legal practitioner informed that the case is currently in court, adding that the G-Worldwide has put out a claim of N500m as compensation from Kizz Daniel.

“It’s our claim, not about what Kizz Daniel is worth. This is about what the company would have made over the period of the 7-year contract. So, it’s not just a sum based on what he’s worth now, but he’s earning money.”

Asked if the firm will be open to an out of court settlement with the singer, Agbakoba said, “Absolutely, what are we doing in court? We want our money; we are business people you know. We are here to make money, so, he has to be ready to pay,” he said.

On the scheduled Kizz Daniel Live concert, he said, “We are going to apply for an injunction to stop it because he’s tied to us and the matter is still in court; the court has to decide. We are going to ask the court to stop the show, but if the court says it may not be fair, we would then ask for all the money to be paid to the court. It’s not about him, but the promotion company that is aware of the suit and went ahead to organise the concert. If we don’t do this, this industry will not grow.”

Agbakoba observed that the Nigerian music industry has over the years shown great growth trajectory, with projections that the industry will hit $50Million Dollars by next year, 2020. He, however, frowned at the growing rot in the system, of incessant breach and disregard of recording contracts by artistes, which if not addressed and solutions proffered, will hamper the growth of the industry.

“There’s no gainsaying that the industry is about talents, but these talents often times need to be harnessed by men/women with strong business acumen, who will assist them in turning their raw/untapped talents into a marketable brand hence the existence of Record Labels. These businessmen and women make huge investments into these artistes and pool resources to ensure that their investments yield sizeable dividends and the Artiste becomes a superstar.”

He stated that, in spite of the efforts of these record labels, the trend is that once an artiste benefits from the investments of the record label and becomes a superstar, impatience sets in and they become eager to be independent and terminate contracts entered into with their labels, thereby frustrating their efforts to recoup their investments and deny them of their legitimate earnings.

“In this particular case, G-Worldwide discovered Kizz Daniel, invested in its musical career, as he showed great prospects as a young artiste and also pooled its resources and industry contacts to ensure that he becomes a shining star. Eventually, Kizz Daniel honed his craft with the aid of GWW and became a force to reckon with and then began the impatience and the hunger for independence. In 2017, he terminated his recording contract with GWW, citing frivolous reasons and GWW proceeded to Court to enforce the contract against Kizz Daniels and is seeking reliefs for breach of contract and infringement of its intellectual property rights.”

GWW’s claims against Kizz Daniel include A claim for payment of incurred costs expended by GWW on Kizz Daniel during the subsistence of the Recording Contract and that is captured in Clause 4.1 (d) of the Contract of April 15, 2014. By the said contract, GWW has a right to recoup its investment over Kizz Daniel and that accords with every sense of business as it is the practice in the world over that all investments must have returns/dividends on investments.

A claim for Infringement of GWW’s intellectual property rights, adding that GWW has the right to retain intellectual property right in the stage name “Kiss Daniel” and in the recordings that were created in pursuance of the agreement between the parties. The joint reading of Clause 5 (c) and Clause 11 of the Recording Contract of April 15, 2014, clearly shows that the Artiste assigned its interest, title and rights in its stage name and recordings to the Record Label. The fact that the Artiste has changed its name from Kiss to Kizz doesn’t absolve it of the claim for infringement of intellectual property rights, as it is still liable under the common law tort of passing off.

A claim for improper termination of the Recording Contract- The clause on termination of the Recording Contract is quite simple and straightforward and is not subject to multiple interpretations or meanings. It says that if the Artiste is going to terminate the contract, he can go ahead but he would have to pay back the Company’s investment and damages from loss of earnings from scheduled programmes/events prior to the termination. It is a qualified termination, which means it can only be rightfully exercised upon the fulfillment of the condition attached to it.

“We are simply reiterating through this press conference that contracts are sacred and parties to contracts should uphold their end of the contract, in order to avoid the attendant legal burden they would have to bear. Kizz Daniel has breached the terms of the Recording Contract and has refused to make amends, which shows that he does not respect the sanctity of contracts and everyone should be weary of dealing with such a dissenter or else they may incur huge liabilities for contributory infringement of GWW’s intellectual property rights or be exposed to third party liability claims,” he said.

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