The N200m copyright infringement suit filed by a popular Nigerian musician, Paul I.K. Dairo, alias Paul Play, against a telecommunications company, Etisalat (now 9mobile) continued on Monday with the admittance of additional exhibit by the court.
The exhibit, a Deed of Assignment between Paul Play and the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria, was admitted by the court as Exhibit 9.
Paul Play’s lawyer, Mr. Romeo Michael, tendered the Deed of Assignment through the Director General of MCSN, Mr. Mayowa Ayilara, who appeared in court on Monday as a subpoenaed witness.
Justice Muslim Hassan adjourned further proceedings in the case till May 24, 2018, thereafter.
Paul Play, a multiple award-winning artiste, is seeking an order of the court compelling Etisalat and others to pay him the sum of N200m for allegedly making use of his 2009 hit track, “Mosorire” without authorization.
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 organizer of Nigerian Idol.
In an affidavit filed in support of his suit and deposed to by himself, Paul Play 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, which he said 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 a 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 authorization 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.