Sept 20, 2015 – King Sunny Ade’s Court Case: KSA Drags Marketers & Record Labels To Court For Copyright Infringement
The king of worldbeat, Sunny Ade, has approached a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos State to award him N3 billion damages in an alleged copyright infringement case against some marketers and record labels.
The seven defendants in the suit, filed in 2007, included musical records and cassettes marketers and a cassette jacket printer in Nigeria.
Sunny Ade instituted the suit against the defendants for alleged copyright infringement on 43 works categorised as singles, extended, series and others.
He is also seeking a court order directing the defendants to deliver to him the master tapes of the said musical works.
He also wants the court to bar the defendants from printing his photographs or his likeness on any musical works.
The defendants in the suit are African Songs Limited, Take Your Choice Records Store Limited, Lati Alagbada Nigeria Limited and Records Manufacturer of Nigeria Limited.
Others are Ibukunolu Printers Nigeria Ltd, Alhaja Awawu Ade Amodu and Sons and M.O. Alagbada Nigeria Company.
In his 41-paragraph statement of claim, the musician claimed to have, in 1970, entered into a five-year agreement with the first defendant to reproduce the said works and sell under its record label.
He, however, claimed that upon the expiration of the agreement period in 1975, the first defendant refused to return to him the master tapes of the songs despite repeated demands from its then Chief Executive Officer, who is now dead, Chief Bolarinwa Abioro.
He claimed that a suit instituted on the subject matter in 1974 was resolved in his favour by Justice L.J. Dosunmu in 1975.
He, however, claimed that in spite of the judgment, the defendants had continued to reproduce and distribute his works without his authorisation, causing him both social and financial losses.
Sunny Ade claimed that his monthly revenue from live shows, which used to be N5 million, had reduced to N500,000.
He also claimed that his monthly income from sales of compact discs and cassettes had reduced from N3.5 million to N150,000.
But the first and second defendants asked the court to not only dismiss Sunny Ade’s case, but to award N500 million against the musician for the damages that they had suffered from 1997 when Sunny Ade obtained a restraining order against them.
Contrary to Sunny Ade’s claims, the defendants claimed that their relationship with the musician dated back to 1966 when they received and negotiated musical performance bookings for him, in addition to sponsoring his musical tour of the United Kingdom.
According to them, Clause 9 of the 1970 agreement vested the sole right of production, reproduction, sale, use and performance of the works throughout the world in the first defendant.
[Reported By The Elites]