With erstwhile comedic duo Aki and Pawpaw re-entering the culture as memes, their new-found appeal has left the world starstruck. The internet is currently glazed with their funny ramblings which are always meme-ready, derived from their old catalogue of Nollywood movies. Pawpaw (Osita Iheme) is the internet’s main obsession though, bobbing on our timelines and somewhat instilling in Nigerians a sense of something to claim when non-Nigerians ignorantly ask: ”I don’t know who this child is but he’s so damn funny!”
And then we would hastily correct that he isn’t a child but a middle-aged man, only just diminutive. Pawpaw, along with his sidekick Aki (Chinedu Ikedieze), are fast gaining meme supremacy but it’s also very worrisome how the whole thing has veered towards copyright infringement. On Sunday, Uche Jombo called out sports platform Bleacher Report for literally putting their watermark on a movie clip with Pawpaw in it, memefied and edited to show the actor wearing a Lakers kit.
You put watermark on a video you downloaded off the internet 🤦🏾♀️
It’s all fun and games till
the copyright owner sue you.
That’s someone’s Nollywood film scene. https://t.co/dcjJ88tatr
— Uche Jombo Rodriguez (@uchejombo) July 6, 2019
As expected, the meme went viral which continues to thrust Aki and Pawpaw into the zeitgeist. But Jombo calling out Bleacher was important because the meme was essentially copyright content. Granted, we all use movie-derived memes in our online conversations but Bleacher passing it off as theirs with the watermark was an infringement, and in saner climes that’s a ground to sue for intellectual theft.
This video has been viewed over 20m times. Credited to someone who prolly can’t point out Naija on the map. Someone is making money from Aki & Puff’s ORIGINAL WORK and it’s not them! pic.twitter.com/h7dagV2opm
— T. Rankïn’ ∆ 🏁 (@AfroVII) June 22, 2019
Because Nigeria’s copyright and patent laws are still quite lax, and the seeming lack of interest of the government in Nollywood, violations and infringements continue to occur even beyond the shores of the country. That said, it’s still amazing that Aki and Pawpaw are getting the recognition they deserve.