Nigerian singer Ewaoluwa Olatunji, better known by her stage name Ewa Cole, has sued music executive Abdulrasheed “JJC Skillz” and filmmaker Funke Akindele for allegedly violating her song rights in the SceneOne Entertainment-produced movie “She Must Be Obeyed,” which Akindele and JJC Skillz co-directed.
Prime Video offered streaming access to the series, which starred Nancy Isime, Abdulateef Adedimeji, Akah Nnani, Veeiye, Waje, Patience Ozokwo, Rachael Okonkwo, and Mike Ezuronye.
Ewa Cole asserted ownership of the songs “Opoor” and “Bhad Garl,” which were used in the series without her consent, through her attorney Adewale Williams.
The lawsuit, filed at the Federal High Court in Lagos, also names Tony Ugiagbe (Topage), Waje, Veeiye, Amazon Web Services Nigeria Ltd. (BoomPlay), Amazon Web Services Inc., and Apple Inc. as defendants.
Ewa Cole alleges that ‘Bhad Gyal’ and ‘Opoor’ were reproduced by Waje and Veeiye after Topage, the song producer, informed her of their rejection.
She contended that the songs were used without authorization and without crediting her, constituting copyright infringement.
The suit reads:
“Sometime in June 2021, Our Client was contacted by one Mr Fony a.k.a Tony Age to produce soundtracks for the movie “She Must Be Obeyed” series being produced by Scene One production, Funke Akindele and her crew at that material time. The movie starred several celebrities like Veeiye (as Tito); Waje (as X-cite)}; Shaffy Belfo as Iya Siyanbola, amongst others,” the petition reads.
“Our brief revealed that after writing and recording the two songs, “Bhad Gyal” and “OPOOR” in a music studio with the aid of Mr. Tony a.k.a Tony Age (who was working with the “She Muse Be Obeyed” crew as that time), she handed over the tracks to him with the understanding that Funke Akindele and her crew will reach out to her for payments and recognition.
“After weeks of waiting, Our Client received the sad news that her songs had been rejected and would no longer be deployed in the production of the series only for Our Client to shockingly discover thereafter that she has been lied to and scammed, and that her songs were in fact REPRODUCED by Waje and Veeiye and deployed for the production of the said movie without Our Client’s permission or approval or any credit to her. As a matter of fact, the “Bhad Gyal’ song was mimed by Waje while on stage in the movie, whilst the OPOOR song ran through the background of the entirety of the series.
“The “She Must Be Obeyed” series released in September 2023 and premiered by Amazon Prime Video is now been watched round the globe and generating several revenues for Amazon, Apple Music, BoomPlay, Funke Akindele, and her crew without even the least recognition of Our Client as the author of those songs.”
Ewa Cole is also demanding N300 million in damages for the alleged infringement of her work.
She asked that the court grant a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from further copyrighting, performing, or reproducing her musical works.
She also prayed that the court would order the defendants to share 45 percent of the profits made in the use, performance, reproduction, and distribution of the two songs.