This is plagiarism, and this is exactly what happened with Sarkodie’s recently released Hip-hop jam “Trumpet”. The 9-minute song, which features new school rappers TeePhlow, Medikal, Strongman, Koo Ntakra, Donzy and Pappy Kojo was accompanied on its release by a fine music video directed by industry wiz kid Prince Dovlo.
But sadly, the song’s exquisiteness has been ruined by the copyright infringement that underpins its production. This issue was raised by an up and coming rapper, CJ Biggerman on Facebook today. The rapper was quick to identify the source of the original beat, subsequently tagging a few industry players in his post to deal with the issue.
The “Trumpet” beat was originally produced by American beat maker SuperStar O – an engineer who has worked with superstars such as Ray J, Wiz Khalifa, T-Pain, Jim Jones. The original beat is titled “My Destiny”, a Dirty South Anthem type beat which has SuperStar O’s signature embossed on it.
But on Sarkodie’s version, which was mixed by Fortune Dane, the beat was totally ripped, with SuperStar O’s signature being replaced by that of UK-based Ghanaian producer Def Clef. Disappointingly, the bar, melody, snare, and the progression sound exactly the same.
Listen to the original beat “My Destiny” here.
And listen to Sarkodie’s “Trumpet” here.
Notice the difference? There seems to be none.
In order to get an insight into the copyrights law binding the arts industry, we contacted multiple award-winning producer Appietus.
Even if SuperStar O had sold his beat, it still couldn’t have been presented as an original work by a fellow producer who bought it, says Appietus. Even when a beat is sold, he adds, the producer is still entitled to royalties when the beat goes on to earn money. Basically, the original producer of a beat will always own the beat one way or the other because it is his intellectual property.
“Basically, you cannot buy an intellectual property – it’s impossible. Intellectual property has to do with someone’s creativity so it can’t be bought – it can only be recreated or sampled,” he said.
To make it clearer, Appietus continued, “if I use the recipe of Coca-Cola and sell in a different bottle, I will be arrested. Also, I cannot make my own drink and sell in their bottles and call it Coca-Cola. The act is against copyright.”
Listen to it below