Nigerian music icon and multiple award-winning artiste, Paul Play Dairo, has dragged a telecommunications service provider, Etisalat, before a Federal High Court in Lagos for allegedly infringing on his copyright.
The ‘Angel of My Life’ crooner asked Justice C.J. Aneke to compel Etisalat to pay him N200m for making use of his 2009 hit-track, “Mosorire” without having obtained his authorisation. His grouse with the defendants stemmed from the alleged use of the track “Mosorire” in the defendant’s 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 one Optima Media Group. 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, as 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 act of adaptation, deployment, public performance and exploitation of his musical work titled “Mosorire” by the defendants without the plaintiff’s prior consent, authorisation or permission constitutes an infringement of the plaintiff’s 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.