“Asake Doesn’t Owe Royalties To ‘Epp Me’ Police Officer” – Lawyer

Raphael Irenen, an entertainment attorney, has claimed that viral police officer Helen Utabor isn’t eligible to get any money from the Afrobeats sensation Asake.

Otabhor is the policewoman in a video that went viral from her altercation with a purported traffic offender.

She became a sensation in May 2022 after a video of her crying for help as a commuter drove off with her.

Popular comedian, I Go Save, publicly claimed that the injured cop was struck by a car while directing traffic in Edo and requested assistance on her behalf.

After the accident, there was uproar when I Go Save revealed that Asake had given her N5 million for medical care.

Many argued that the singer ought to have given the police officer royalties for lending her voice to his song “Peace be unto you.”

However, Irenen mentioned that the Nigerian Copyright Act grants copyright to six categories of works, during Monday appearance on Arise TV’s Good Morning Show.

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He enumerated them as follows: writing, painting, music, broadcasting, sound recording, and audiovisual activities. The attorney said that the viral video was an example of an audiovisual production.

When asked if Asake owes Utaboh royalties, Irenen simply replied,“Looking at the provisions of the law, the simple answer is No.”

“Copyright in an audio-visual work goes to the author. Copyright generally under the Nigeria Copyright Act goes to the author. That is Section 28 of the Nigeria Copyright Act.

“The video itself comprises the woman’s voice. It is quite reasonable to expect that people would advocate that she be compensated. But it doesn’t work that way.”

“The video was a spontaneous activity. If there was an agreement that stated the lady (Utaboh) would be entitled to something, royalties or she has certain ownership over the said video, that would have been different. But there was no agreement to that effect. The young man took out his phone and started recording”.

He added; “If you remove the lady’s voice, you make it a stand-alone item. Asake only used her voice alone. He did not use the video.”

In a tweet via his account, Irenen explained; “She is not entitled to any royalty accruing from the song. Though her voice was used/sampled in the record, she is not the owner of the video, from which her voice was expunged and used for the said song. Recall that a video was made where she was seen shouting ‘Epp me.’”