MCSN wins N5.4bn case against Multichoice

…as court grants power to curb copyright’s infringement




ears after its battle against copyrights infringement on musical works, a Federal High Court, Abuja division has empowered Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN) to axe offenders of the music industry’s intellectual property.



Besides, the court empowered MCSN to compel users of musical works to fulfill their obligations to the society as large repertoire of musical works, sound recordings, including audio visual works, assignee and exclusive licensee.



This was also affirmed by the Court of Appeal which awarded N5, 450,152, 125.00 damages in favour of MCSN in an appeal by Multichoice Nigeria Limited against MCSN/GTE.



This was contain in a lead judgement delivered on 29th May, 2020 by Justice Obande Festus Ogbuinya.



The court described Multichoice appeal as lacking in merit as MCSN had satisfied the requirement of law and awarded N5, 490, 652, 125.00 against Multichoice in favour of MCSN.



Multichoice had appealed against the verdict of a lower court which dismissed its case seeking to stop MCSN from collecting royalties on behalf of copyright owners on the grounds that NCC had revoked its licence, hence, MCSN had no such powers.



Specifically, Multichoice sought a declaration that “the plaintiff (Multichoice) is not obliged under the laws of Nigeria to pay any monies or otherwise to the defendant (MCSN) as royalties or other payment for material used in programming or content on the DSTV bouquet unless the defendant is licensed as a collecting society for that purpose by the Nigerian Copyright Commission.”



But Multichoice’s relief collapsed as the Federal High Court declared the request as unmeritorious.



Two years after, the lower court’s was upheld by the Court of Appeal which also declared that it was “bereft of any grain of merit and deserves the penalty of dismissal.”



Justice Ogbuinya, who delivered the lead judgement on 29th May, 2020 said: “In effect, the respondent’s (MCSN) notice has satisfied the requirement of the law. 



“I resolve the solitary issue against the appellant (Multichoice) and in favour of the respondent.



“Accordingly, I grant the prayer in the respondent’s notice.



Consequently, the special damages in the sum of N5, 490, 652, 125.00 is varied to N5, 450, 152, 125.00.



“On the whole, having resolved the live issues one, three, four, five, seven, eight and nine against the appellant, the fate of the appeal is obvious. It is bereft of any grain of merit ad deserves the penalty of dismissal.



“Consequently, I dismiss the appeal. I affirm the decision of the lower court delivered on 19th January, 2018.”






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