Legal Issues surrounding Drake sampling Obrafour’s “Oye Ohene”
Who would have thought that there was going to be a day where one of top selling artistes of all time will sample a Ghanaian song, to be specific “Oye Ohene” by Ghanaian rap legend Obrafour. Drake recently dropped an album and had a sample from Obrafours record on a single off the album titled “Falling back”. The popular phrase ,“kill a cat blood” that starts the intro of “Oye Ohene” by Mantse was sampled by Drake. Ghanaians recognized this and there was some sort of excitement but some other people have been asking very important questions. Did he make money off it? Now this is a purely intellectual property rights issue. Who owns the rights to the song? Does Obrafour solely own the copyrights to the record or it’s a tenancy in common with the producer of the album at the time , Hammer of the last 2. Or worse case scenario he has no rights associated with that record at all. Back in the day, a brick and mortar distribution system was put in place where the distributor had rights to sell the album cassettes and to my knowledge Big Ben used to distribute for Obrafour. So the question is did Obrafour relinquish his rights totally buy devolving such rights to Big Ben. When all these questions are answered we can now know whether Obrafour actually made money off that sample usage or someone else did. It’s very important that artistes see the value of owning the copyrights and any other rights associated with the content they create. Authorship or co authorship grants you copyright and protection of those works however I will advise that you register your works with the copyright administrator under our laws which maintains a record of your works, publicizes the rights of ownership and gives evidence of ownership and authentication of intellectual property. It goes a long way in securing you future value you could never anticipate. Kate Bush wrote Running Up That Hill, produced Running Up That Hill and owns 100% of its songwriting, publishing and licensing rights. Basically, Kate Bush is currently making around £250,000 a week from one song she released in 1985. Had I knowns are always at last. Prevent yourselves from being the bearers of this statement .