It has been a long time coming for some music and movie producers in the entertainment industry who feel it is okay to engage in song stealing, unlicensed distribution or copyright infringement. Basically, these producers will take the original works of others without thought for due process.
Onyeka Onwenu was not having any of it though, and that was why the legend sued digital music and movie distributor, IROKING back in 2018 for violating a copyright agreement.
According to Onyeka, iROKING, blatantly disregarded the lapse of their 2-year contract and continued to profit from sales of her music. Two years after, Onyeka Onwenu has come out victorious as the judge finally ruled in her favour. Taking to her Instagram, Onyeka shared the good news, she wrote:
ONYEKA ONWENU Vs IROKING:
In a matter before the Federal High Court of Lagos,Suit No:FHC/L/CS/1486/2017, Hon. Justice CJ Aneke of the Federal High Court Lagos on Thursday, the 16th day of January 2020, gave judgment in favour of Lady Onyeka Onwenu MFR.
The Plaintiffs, Onyeka Onwenu and Ayollo Productions Limited instituted an action against the Defendant, Iroking Limited, for the continuous infrigment of the Intellectual Property of the 1st Plaintiff by the sale and distribution of the 1st Plaintiff’s songs without her consent.
The Court held that the Intellectual Property Right of the Plaintiff was indeed breached by the defendant between the period of 28th day of February 2015 (after the Digital Rights Acquisition Agreement Expired) and March 2016 when the defendant claimed it pulled down the works of the plaintiffs from the defendant’s specific digital platform(iTunes). This judgment is not just victory for Lady Onyeka Onwenu but for all Songwriters, Producers, and all Intellectual Property owners in general.
Although the amount of damages awarded to the plaintiffs was only 500k, an indication that Nigerian Judges still lack adequate understanding of intellectual property rights, this is a victory for the Music Industry which should prompt every copyright owner to look into who is selling your music without your permission. They would easily find that gross violations abound. Change is coming. There must be a better regulation of this “all comers” market.
Intellectual Property Owner.