Sunday, 11 July 2021

Okiki Bright Wins Airtel , Glo, 9Mobile In Court Over Illegal Use Of Song As Caller Tune

For over four years, the legal battle over the copyright infringement by telecommunication giants – Globacom, Airtel and 9mobile – on the intellectual property of Music artiste, Okiki Bright titled, “Gbagbe Boshe Sele”, has been on the front burner.

Fortune has  however, smiled on the Musical star, following the judgment delivered by Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court in Lagos on 9th July, 2021. His Lordship ruled against  the telecommunication giants. He granted the sum of ₦2 million  to Okiki Bright’s musical work, Gbagbe Boshe Sele.

In delivering the judgment,    in suit number :FHC/L/CS/1776/2017 in favour of Okiki, the Judge held that 9mobile, Airtel, Globacom and others infringed on the copyright of Okiki Bright for using his musical work titled Gbagbe Boshe Shele as caller tune for commercial exploit without his consent and authorisation.

The Court resolved that Okiki Bright and Oritsefemi are not co-owners of the song “Gba gbe boshe sele” saying featuring Oritsefemi in a song does not make Oritsafemi a co-owner of the said song.

The Plaintiff, in the suit filed by his counsel, Alayo Akanbi prayed the court to declare him as the exclusive owner and original composer of the musical work titled Gbage Boshe Sele, and that unauthorised use of his song as caller tune by the telecommunications for commercial exploit without his authority amounted to an infringement on his copyright to the musical work.

Okiki Bright equally asked for monetary damages cumulatively against the defendants for infringing on his intellectual property.

In his statement of claim, the plaintiff averred that he paid the star Artiste, Oritsefemi Majemite Ekele to feature in his song in order to get more acceptability and that he was still working on promoting his song when people drew his attention to the fact that his song was now on caller tunes of some telecommunications companies.

Justice Oweibo awarded general and exemplary damages in the sum of ₦2 million and cost of ₦500, 000 each against the telecommunication companies  in favour of the Plaintiff.

While speaking with counsel to Okiki Bright, Alayo Akanbi who commended the Judge for a well researched and sound judgment and said that the judgment will go a long way to discourage intellectual property theft and wished that the court had awarded greater punitive damages against the Defendants as deterrent.

On his part, Okiki Bright said the Judge has passed the judgment in his favour but he was surprised at the award of damages in the meager sum of ₦2 million and that the amount cannot cater for his expenses since 2017 when the case started. In his words, ‘I am going to consult my lawyer to determine my next line of action’.

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