Settlement reached in Fela copyright case

The three-year dispute between Carlos Moore, author of Fela: This Bitch of a Life, and the producers of the Broadway musical, Fela! has finally ended. In a joint statement released on Monday by the author and the Broadway producers of the show, they announced that, “the matter of Mr. Moore’s claims has been resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties.”

All playbills and associated materials of the internationally-acclaimed show, now bear the acknowledgement: “Inspired by the authorized biography Fela: This Bitch of a Life!, by Carlos Moore.”

The statement is a resounding victory and testimony to Moore's dogged persistence. In his lawsuit, Moore had contended that elements and sections of his authorised, first-person biography of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti, had been taken from the original book and used almost verbatim in the musical without his permission.

The two sections entitled “Afa Ojo,” more commonly known as the “Black Pages,” were a mystical aside featuring Fela’s mother calling on her son to continue the struggle. Many critics consider the Afa Ojo sections as having provided what became the backbone for the musical: the spirit interaction between Fela's deceased mother and her rebel son. Moore's lawsuit said the producers of the musical lifted the Black Pages without acknowledging his book as the central inspiration for the production.

Apart from the original publication by Allison & Busby (London, 1982), the Cassava Republic Press version of the biography is the only edition which features the controversial pages. To buy the book, go to

Cassava Republic Press is extremely happy that Carlos Moore’s intellectual property and contribution to the Broadway show has now been publicly and appropriately acknowledged. In his statement, Moore limited himself to thanking his “many friends around the world who extended their support to me  over this matter.”


  • Fantastic news!!!!
    I am not a very happy person most of the time,considering all matters
    to do with the state of things in Africa…but to see justice done in the case
    of Carlos Moore and the Fela book is cause to celebrate, and give a welcome renewal
    of faith and strength in the struggle for liberation and justice in Africa….I am sure
    Fela and his mother are very pleased where they are now….just like the rest of us.
    toks ilorin

    Posted by toks ilorin on December 22, 2011

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