Dr Carlos Moore, author of Fela: This Bitch of a Life - the only authorised biography of the late legendary musician, composer and Afrobeat king, Fela Kuti - has challenged the powerful Broadway producers/stakeholders of the Tony-Award winning musical, FELA! In its short life, that play, recounting the life of Africa´s most powerful musical creator and political maverick, has been performed to nearly 500 000 in New York alone and reportedly already grossed close to $30 million.
At issue is the alleged flagrant misuse of copyright by the producers who, when their paltry offer of $4000 for stage and film rights was turned down by Moore, several years ago, went ahead nonetheless and created the musical, presumably thinking that the author would never have the resources to challenge them. They were wrong: he received the backing of a group of respected and highly principled African Americans. Their support indicates a growing infuriation with corrupt and unscrupulous impresarios and producers who find it acceptable to violate the intellectual property of creative artists for their own profit and gain.
The point is that the lawsuit Carlos Moore filed on November 8th, 2010 sets a precedent, one that is long overdue; too many creative spirits, born in poverty-striken communities and/or countries, have had to watch impotently as their intellectual production is violated with impunity.
If you are in support of our cause, simply send an email to me firstname.lastname@example.org indicating your willingness to have your name appear on a statement to the press that will be released on January 15th, 2011. The declaration is attached to this email for your perusal. If you also know of prominent and respected Nigerians who you think will want to be part of this cause, please forward this email and declaration to them.
Cassava Republic Press