In Summary

  • Airtel Uganda fined 700m for unlawful use of Konshens songs.
  • Konshens had sued the telecommunications company for copyright infringement.

Jamaican dancehall star, Konshens will be smiling to the bank after being awarded 700m by telecommunications company, Airtel Uganda.

A Ugandan court found Airtel liable of copyright infringement for using Konshen’s songs without consent.

The bassline singer had sued Airtel Uganda and On Mobile Global, a software and content company of unlawful use of his 8 songs as ‘caller tunes’ without his consent.

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A commercial court Judge, Patricia Mutesi ruled on Monday that Konshens copyright had been infringed.

According to the judge’s observation the two entities sold the singer’s music and never reimbursed the proceeds to him.

This was termed as an outright act of theft by Konshens towards his craft.

In her judgement, Mutesi directed Airtel to pay Shs20m and On Mobile Global to pay Shs30m exemplary damages to the singer.

Konshens had alleged that Airtel unlawfully accessed the 8 songs before setting them for downloads at Shs600 per download.

The programme was known as ‘Hello Tunes’ a campaign spearheaded by Airtel Uganda.

The songs in question are: Simple Song, Gyal a Bubble, So Mitan, Stop Sign, Jamaican Dance, Konshens Jazz version, No Retreat and Jah Love Me.

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Welcoming the judgement was a lawyer, Mr Silver Kayondo who termed it a breakthrough in artistes safeguarding their works.

“Copyright law is not self-executing\self-enforcing. Artistes will have to work on professionalising their work and enforcing their rights” he said.

He further added that Uganda needs to set up a Copyright Royalties Board in determining royalty rates as the case with Canada, Nigeria and Uganda.

Nonini, Bamboo Won Similar Suits

Recently, Kenyan artistes Nonini and Bamboo won similar copyright infringement lawsuits.

Nonini was awarded 1m after an online influencer, Brian Mutinda was found liable for using ‘Wee Kamu’ for advertising purposes.

On the other hand, Bamboo now a preacher also won a copyright infringement lawsuit against telecommunication company, Safaricom.

He walked home 4.5m richer from the nine-year legal battle.

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