BBE British Bootlegging Enterprises
Me:We have just last week released our compilation "Lagos Disco Inferno" which prominently features "boogie trip" as the first track and this song has somehow become the signature track of this release.We do own the exclusive copyright of "boogie trip" and have signed with Rev. Tony Essien who is the producer and co-author of said track.I would think it should be easy to understand how we can't accept the unauthorized publication of this track through a competing product.I will leave it up to the record label to serve you with a cease and desist order and to take further legal steps if needed.BBE:"...The consultant who did the licensing for the off track 3 compilation is away on compassionate leave and as soon as i can speak to him next week i will confirm what the status is regarding the license of that particular track. We had someone in Nigeria assisting with the project. Being from Ghana myself i know these things can be not always so straightforward re ownership. Either way just bear with me for about a week and i will get back to you..."Me:"Since I haven't heard back from you about this matter, I'm assuming you are willing to go ahead and publish your record including Doris Ebong "boogie trip" for which we own the exclusive copyright.You claiming "The consultant who did the licensing for the off track 3 compilation is away on compassionate leave" doesn't appear to be anything but an effort to gain time. Why would you need an consultant to tell you what you know as well as I do: You do not have any licensing for this track.Next thing will probably be you tell us that the record's already manufactured."BBE:"Can you send me your phone number please?"Me:"Let's keep this at emails, easier to document what was discussed.-We paid the songwriter and producer for the exclusive licensing of this track.-You don't have any license for it.-You can't release unlicensed material, especially not after being contacted by the licensing holder and asked not to.I think I was clear enough that I don't want you to release this track and you refused to comment on this demand.Off Track Vol. 3 is still being advertised as soon to be released including this title.This forces us to seek legal counsel so we can make sure our interest is being protected."BBE:"Sure. Whatever works for you.Cd was already pressed over a month ago....Hope we can find a solution."Me:"Our record just came out and we will not accept you publishing this track be it on CD, digitally or otherwise.That's the whole point in licensing something exclusively, isn't it?It's your own fault for manufacturing a CD that contains unlicensed material and thedistribution of a compilation that includes bootlegged material is against the law.You can't knowingly commit an illegal act and expect to "figure out compensation" later."The next section are excerpts from several subsequent emails and everything you're about to read are complete and utter lies as will be proven later.BBE:"Just want to inform you that Tony Essien does not have the rights to license you the Doris Ebong track as he has never been the master owner. All the recordings were a buy outs by PhonodiskBBE have a signed agreement for the rightful use of the track from the correct owner of the Doris Ebong master.I am passing on your email to correct owner as per his request. "..."The track was never owned by the artist or the producer.Your license is not legitimate. "..."The track was never owned by Tony Essien. "Me:"Putting the child of the label owner over the songwriter, producer and artist will not only put you in a very bad light publicity wise but will also not stand up in a court of law, be it in Europe or the US.You're more than welcome to fight over this.There is no question that you will be left holding the short hand of the stick.We have passed the matter onto out lawyer."BBE:"Tony Essien is NOT the owner of the Doris Ebong masters and did not have the power to sign the track of to you. I'm afraid you have been ripped off.BBE have the correct rights to the record.As such you may have a cease and desist coming your way now."In the meantime, my agent in Nigeria had done some research and this is what I wrote to BBE after I had received the results.Me:"I feel deeply sorry for you but I'm afraid you were ripped off.Tony Essien's company TEDD Records licensed the Doris Ebong record to Phonodisk for 2 years after its original release.Tony Essien doesn't only still own the original contract for this but also all master tapes for his record.Still, I'll give you bonus points for the boldness of yesterdays bluff attempt."BBE:"Just have your lawyer contact me. I am not interested in your mind games. "Me:"Count on it!"Just two days ago, I have finally received scans of the contract Tony Essien had made with Phonodisk and with it final proof that nobody else but Tony Essien was the owner of the copyright of this record. Of course I couldn't resist firing off a gleeful mail to BBE before passing the matter onto our lawyers in the US and Europe.Me:"Dear Peter,as you have asked for, we don't play games anymore.Attached you find the proof that the copyright to the Doris Ebong LP "All I need is your love" including the track "boogie trip" was never owned by Phonodisk, Mr. Ishola or his family.Should any copies of your CD that include this track hit the market, be prepared to be sued in a European court (where you will be stuck with all -including our -legal costs) as well as in a US court.You can also tell the person you signed your fraudulent license with that he will hear from a Nigerian lawyer which will make for an even more unpleasant experience than what's in store for you.Have a great weekend,yours sincerelyFrank"