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Copyright Office Urges Team Eternity to Opt for Out of Court Settlement After Song Theft Claims

The Defe Defe hitmakers have been hit with claims of sampling a line from a 2004 song

Gospel music collective, Team Eternity Ghana, has been urged by the Ghanaian Copyright Office to settle any copyright disputes pertaining to their popular song, “Defe Defe,” in order to prevent legal consequences.

The copyright dispute comes after music producer, Kwame Mickey, claimed that Team Eternity had sampled the “Defe Defe” line from a song he had previously executive produced for Hallelujah Voices of the same title.

Read Also: ‘Defe Defe’ Song Theft Allegations Hit Team Eternity

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Speaking on the trending copyright issue in an interview with Graphic Showbiz, James Owusu-Ansah, a Senior Research Officer at the Copyright Office, entreated Team Eternity Ghana to settle the case out of court, citing that a legal lawsuit filed against them would rather be time consuming, tiresome and expensive. 

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He stated that in order to obtain a copyright, a person needs to have put in time and effort to create something entirely original. This goes a long way towards proving that no one can claim ownership of the creation.

“This means that no one can claim ownership of words or ideas, but the unique expression is exclusive to the creator. To establish copyright, a person must demonstrate mental labour, meaning they invested time and effort into crafting their work.”

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The Senior Research Officer highlighted the criteria needed for the accusation of plagiarism with regard to music.

“If someone accuses another of plagiarism, they must prove that the accused party stole their work. This includes selecting words, rhythms, and melodies, as songwriters often draw inspiration from others and borrow elements, making it difficult to determine whether it’s a case of inspiration or appropriation,” he said.

He said “in the case of Hallelujah Voices and Team Eternity, it’s possible Team Eternity was inspired by the existing work without directly copying it. Alternatively, they may have appropriated the work, modifying it to fit their own song.”

Providing further information on how to point out issues concerning copyright, Mr Owusu-Ansah said “To determine copyright infringement, we must examine whether the expression of ideas was original and creative, and whether mental labour was exercised in the creation process and that is where they could be found guilty if they aren’t able to prove themselves,” he said.

In his final submission on the matter, Mr. Owusu-Ansah emphatically stated that Team Eternity should have sought permission from the producer(Kwame Mickey) of Hallelujah Voices’ “Defe Defe”  before using the line in their song. He entreated both parties to write a letter to the Copyright Office to resolve the issue.


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