Reps Mourn Mohbad, Urges NCC to Address Copyright Infringement Issues

The House of Representatives has mourned the late musician, Ilerioluwa Olademeji Aloba, popularly known as Mohbad, who died under controversial circumstances on September 12 at the age of 27.

The House resolved to gather information regarding the circumstances leading to his demise as well as monitor the on-going investigation of Mohbad’s death, particularly the allegations of harassment and unpaid royalties.

It invited the Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC) to put measures in place immediately to protect the rights of Mohbad’s songs and lyrics, addressing copyright infringements and ensuring the proper management of his musical assets while securing his son’s benefits from his musical legacy.

The House also resolved to collaborate with relevant stakeholders, including record labels, artistes, legal experts, and industry associations, to develop and implement industrywide guidelines that ensure fair treatment, transparent contractual agreements, and proper compensation for artistes, reviewing existing copyright and contract laws in Nigeria, identifying gaps or areas in need of reform.

The House mandated the Committee on Justice and Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance.

These resolutions followed the adoption of a motion titled, “Motion on the Need for Justice, Safeguarding the Legacy of Late Ilerioluwa Olademeji Aloba a.k.a Mohbad, and Protecting the Rights of Young Promising Artistes in Contracts with Their Record Labels”, moved by Hon Babajimi Benson.

The House noted that Mohbad left his record label, Marlian Records, owned by Azeez Fashola (Naira Marley), in 2022, citing various grievances, including unpaid royalties.

This issue, it said, was indicative of a broader problem in which artistes encountered challenges asserting their rights.

The motion reads: “The House is aware that a disturbing industry practice has come to the fore. Evidence of mistreatment highlights 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.

“The House is also concerned that Mohbad’s case is not an isolated incident. Many artists in Nigeria find themselves ensnared in unfavourable contractual agreements, limiting their creative freedom and financial growth. This situation can lead to disputes and, at times, even violence.

“The House is cognizant that the Nigerian music industry lacks substantial institutional funding, pushing many artists into unscrupulous contracts with record labels. Addressing this issue is vital for the industry’s growth and sustainability.

“The House is also cognizant that Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) functions encompass copyright registration, law enforcement, education, royalty management, international collaboration, legal advocacy, and policy development, hence should be protecting copyright and promoting artists’ interests in Nigeria.

“The House disturbed that most of the proceeds of the late artist are still going to the Marlian Music Group, and there have been no moves from any agency to protect the Estate of the late singer who is currently the 46th best-selling digital artiste in the world.”