A Federal High Court in Lagos has adjourned further proceedings till November 23, 2015, in an alleged copyright infringement suit filed by a popular Nigerian musician, Paul I.K. Dairo, against a telecommunications company, Etisalat.
The multiple award-winning artiste is seeking an order of the court compelling Etisalat and others to pay him N200m for allegedly making use of his 2009 hit track, “Mosorire” without his authorisation.
Paul Play claimed that Etisalat used “Mosorire” in its popular television reality show, tagged, “Nigerian Idol” for two consecutive years without paying him.
Joined with Etisalat in the suit marked FHC/CS/581/2014 is Optima Media Group, which is the organiser of Nigerian Idol.
Optima Media Group has however filed an application urging the court to join the Copyright Society of Nigeria as a defendant in the suit.
Optima Media Group, which is the organiser of Nigerian Idol, sponsored by Etisalat, claimed to have obtained the licence to use the Paul Play’s track from COSON.
Justice Aneke on Wednesday adjourned till November 23, 2015 to hear the application seeking to join COSON.
Paul Play, in the affidavit filed in support of his suit and deposed to by himself, averred that, “I am the copyright owner of the work named and tagged “Mosorire”, contained in my repertoire, exclusively for the jurisdiction of Nigeria and the authority or permission to exploit such work can only be obtained from me.
“However, the defendants being an organiser of a television reality show tagged, “Nigerian Idol” caused the use, adaptation and deployment of my said work, titled “Mosorire” on the said show without my consent, and which was broadcast to several millions of television viewers throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the rest of Africa for 2012 and 2013 editions.”
The artiste said the defendants particularly infringed on his copyright when they allowed one of the contestants on the show to reproduce and perform his song in the glare of the whole nation and beyond.
Paul Play averred that as a singer and composer, he was entitled to an annual fee of N100m on the said track, to commensurate with his effort in putting the work together.
He however averred that having made use of his work without obtaining permission from him, the defendants had caused him loss of income while “they have made gains and improved on their own brand image.”
The artiste therefore sought a declaration of the court that the use of his song without authorisation constituted an infringement of his copyright, as guaranteed by the Copyright Act, Cap C28, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004 and sections 6 (6) (b) and 44 of the 1999 Constitution.