A Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday reserved judgement until May 26, in a suit by Nigerian Artiste, Bright Okiki against some telecommunication companies over alleged copyright infringement.
Justice Nicholas Oweibo reserved Judgement in the suit numbered FHC/L/CS/1776/17 after parties had adopted their respective written submissions before the court.
The defendants in the suit are; Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Ltd, Airtel, Globacom and Mobilexcetra Ltd.
The plantiff who authored the song “Gba gbe boshe sele” featuring Oritsefemi, alleged that the defendants used the said song as caller tunes without his authorization.
He is claiming the sum of N400 million cumulatively against the defendants for infringing on his intellectual property.
Trial was concluded in the suit after parties had led evidences from various witnesses, while the court had adjourned for adoption of final addresses.
On Friday, Mr Alayo Akanbi appeared for the plaintiff, Mrs Abisola Babatunde appeared for the second defendant, Mrs Funke Loko appeared for the third defendant and Mr T.O Lawal appeared for the fourth defendant.
There was no legal representative for the first defendant.
Parties then informed the court of their respective written addresses and arguments contained in same, in urging the court to uphold their submissions.
The second defendant’s written address is dated and filed on Feb. 28, 2020, the third defendant’s address is dated and filed on Feb. 27, 2020, while the fourth defendant’s address is dated and filed on Feb. 26, 2020.
On his part, counsel to the plaintiff also adopted his written address dated and filed on March 24, 2020, as his argument in support of his processes.
He urged the court to grant the prayers and reliefs sought.
After listening to respective counsel, Justice Oweibo adjourned the case until May 26 for judgement.
In his suit, the plaintiff is asking the court to issue a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from continued use of his work.
In his statement of claim, the plaintiff averred that he had paid to feature the star Artiste, Oritsefemi, in his song in order to get more acceptability.
He said 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.
According to him, he had downloaded the song from Airtel in order to be sure, and had also found out from Globacom website that his music was listed as caller tune while he also downloaded same from globacom.
He said that his legal team had then printed them out as evidence. before officially writing to the telecom companies.
The plaintiff, therefore, seeks a declaration that he is the exclusive owner of the musical work “Gbegbe Booshe Sele” and that the defendants has infringed on his intellectual works.
He wants a court’s order compelling the defendants to individually pay him the sum of N100 million (total N400 million) as damages for infringement. on his intellectual property.
Meanwhile, in its counter claim, the third defendant (Globacom) denies that it had committed any infringement on the plaintiff’s work.
It avers that the fourth defendant (mobileexcetera) had agreed to provide it with the caller tunes, adding that it believed it had the authorisation of owners of the tunes.
it avers that based on the fourth defendant’s memorandum of understanding with one Shetade Images on Feb. 13, 2017, it believed it could rely on the fourth defendant to provide it with the caller tunes, adding that same was supplied based on agreement
It said that in the said memorandum, Oritsefemi a co-copyright owner of the song, had given his consent.
The defendant, however, avers that the song has since been removed as caller tune, and denies liability
Also in its counter claim the first defendant also denies liability for any Infringement citing similar Memorandum of understanding.