The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has ordered telecommunications giant, MTN Nigeria, to pay an Abuja-based musician, Liberty Williams, for copyright infringement.
The lawsuit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/2017 was filed in 2017 by Williams against MTN, its CEO, Ferdi Moolman; Nowhere to Run Entertainment Ltd and Emmanuel Abanah.
Williams with the stage name, “Pupayannis” had through his lawyers Remedium Law Partners (formerly Felix Igelige and Associate Law Partners) asked the court to award N200 million in general damages and N100 million naira in aggravated and punitive damages in his favour.
The plaintiff had accused MTN of selling a song he composed in July 2013 as a ringtone.
He had asked the court to declare that MTN’s sale of the song without his consent constituted an infringement of his copyright.
The plaintiff alleged that MTN, in conjunction with No Where to Run Entertainment Company, offered his song “Love is everything” to his millions of subscribers as a ringtone and ringtone without his consent.
In a statement, the claimant said they wrote, composed, and financed the production of the song in July 2013, three months before they struck a deal with No Where to Run Entertainment Ltd.
He maintained that he did not, at any time, assign the master tape and the right to the song to the entertainment company and its chief executive.
The plaintiff requested the court to award N200 million as general damages and N100 million as aggravated and punitive damages in his favour.
Delivering judgment on Thursday, the presiding judge, Judge Mary Ojukwu, demanded the telecommunications company to pay the musician N20,000,000 and also to account for profits for the illegal use of the song for three years.