Copyright Infringement: Court Orders Multichoice To Pay MCSN N6B

Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court sitting at Ikoyi, Lagos State, Nigeria, has ordered Multichoice Nigeria Limited, to pay Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria Ltd/GTE, MCSN, a sum to the tune of N6billion in damages, over alleged involvement in copyright.
It would be recalled that Multichoice had in 2011 dragged MCSN before the judge.
However, Multichoice lost the matter, with the court upholding the counter-claim instituted by the MCSN/GTE.
While giving the judgement, Justice Idris declared that Multichoice should pay the MCSN/GTE the said sum with the position that, “The court having delivered judgment striking out the Multichioce’s claims, hereby ordered as follows:
“That judgment is entered in favour of the defendant/counter-claimant in the following terms: 5,490,652,125.00 only as special damages comprising of N4,157,460,500.000 which became due and collectable from 6th January 2006 to January 2012.
“Inclusive of Value Added Tax of N197,950,500 only payable to the Federal Government of Nigeria through Musical Copyright Society of  Nigeria LTD/GTE.
“N200,000,000.00 only as general damages.
“N309,347,875.50 only as aggravated damages.”
Justice Idris equally awarded separate sums of N200 million and N309 million as general and aggravated damages respectively against Multichoice in favour of the MCSN/GTE.
The MCSN/GTE had, in its counter-claim, accused Multichoice of infringing on its copyright on 18 songs, including Konko Below and Never Far Away by Nigerian masked musician, Bisade Ologunde, alias Lagbaja.
The other songs which the MCSN/GTE accused Multichoice of using without lawful permission, UEFA Cup thematic music and UEFA Championship League thematic music.
MCSN/GTE had in its counter claim stated that, “Multichioce was alleged to have infringed on the copyright of the musical works  in the course of and to promote their businesses and to make profit without the authority or licence of the Musical copyright society of Nigeria and the society has suffered loss and damage.
“Multichioce was alleged to have bluntly refused or neglected to voluntarily apply for and obtain the permission of the counter-claimant before deploying the musical works of the Musical copyright on repertoire into the it’s broadcasting activities.
“The defendant has continued to infringe upon the works and has threatened to do so continually unless restrained by the honourable court.
“By its acts of infringement aforesaid, well knowing that it was thereby infringing the copyright of the MCSN the defendant has acted in flagrant disregard of the rights of the counter-claimant.
“On this premise, the MCSN is entitled to and claim from the defendant additional damages pursuant to Section 16(4) of the Copyright Act 2004.”