Reps to amend copyright laws, monitor Mohbad probe
To reposition the entertainment industry and protect the rights of artists, the House of Representatives has promised to amend the copyright laws in the country.
The decision followed the adoption of a motion under matters of urgent importance sponsored by Babajimi Benson, representing Ikorodu Federal Constituency of Lagos State.
It pledged to collaborate with relevant stakeholders, including record labels, artists, legal experts and associations, to develop and implement industry-wide guidelines that ensure fair treatment, transparent contractual agreements and proper compensation for artistes, review existing copyright and contract laws and identify gaps or areas in need of reform.
Consequently, Speaker Tajudeen Abbas mandated the House Committees on Justice and Legislative Compliance to comply.
The lower legislative chamber, while observing a minute silence in honour of the late Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba (popularly known as Mohbad), promised to monitor ongoing investigations relating to the deceased.
It also resolved to invite the Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC) to immediately put measures in place to protect the deceased musician’s songs and lyrics, address copyright infringements and ensure proper management of his musical assets, while securing his son’s benefits from his musical legacy.
Benson, while moving the motion, recalled that Mohbad left his record label, Marlian Records, owned by Azeez Fashola (Naira Marley), in 2022, citing various grievances, including unpaid royalties.
The issue, he said, is indicative of a broader problem in which artists encounter challenges asserting their rights.
The lawmaker claimed that there was evidence of mistreatment, highlighting the struggles of young artists who, in their quest for success, become entangled in parasitic contracts and face bullying when they seek to exit these agreements.
He added: “We are concerned that Mohbad’s case is not an isolated incident. Many artists in Nigeria find themselves ensnared in unfavorable contractual agreements, limiting their creative freedom and financial growth. This situation can lead to disputes and, at times, even violence.”
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