Achebe vs. 50 Cent: The Biggest Copyright Issue in Nigerian History


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The biggest copyright issue in Nigerian history happened in 2011 when the
renowned novelist Chinua Achebe threatened legal fireworks following the title of
a 2011 movie, starring a notable celebrity known as 50 Cent. The movie title
happened to clash with that of his novel, Things Fall Apart.

50 Cent and his crew had produced a movie that was titled Things Fall Apart.

The movie drew a global interest because of the caliber of those involved in
its production. Incidentally, news about the movie title got to Chinua Achebe who
was then in his 80s.

Achebe had in 1958 published a novel titled Things fall apart, a book that is one of
the most-read books in the world. In fact, it has been published in many languages
and is still a literary work to reckon with today.

Achebe’s Claims about the Movie Title

The legal team of the literary icon wrote to 50 Cent and his crew, not to use the
title or face legal action for violating his copyright. Issues arising from the
Copyright claims were reported by many notable media outlets in 2011 including

At that time, the budget used for the movie production was $7,000,000
and the crew offered to pay Achebe $1,000, 000 to retain the title Things Fall
Apart, he turned down the offer. The whooping sum involved made it the
biggest copyright issue in Nigerian history.

Achebe chose to preserve the legacy of one of history’s most-read book, forcing 50
Cent and his team to adopt a new title for the movie. They settled for All Things
Fall Apart for the 2011 movie. Despite the similarity in title, the movie starring 50
Cent who played the role of a footballer with Cancer and struggled to pull
through is a departure from Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.

Sadly, Chinua Achebe died in 2013. 12 years after, the legacy of his 1958 novel,
Things Fall Apart still lives on.

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