News reaching Whisper Eye desk indicates that High Court Uganda has pronounced itself in a much-awaited court case filed in 2015 by Mr Garfield Spence commonly known as Konshens against Airtel Uganda Limited. #WhisperEyeNews
Konshens is a Jamaican musician who dragged Airtel Uganda to courts of law after it emerged the latter was using his music for caller tunes without his consent.
He also dragged Onmobile global limited, Mtech Limited and Solunrt business solutions limited into the same suit for aiding the process of his songs as “caller tunes” usage without his consent.
Using Konshens’s songs as “caller tunes” without his consent amounts to Copyright infringement.”
Uganda Airtel was ordered to pay UGX 673 million approximately 180,000 USD to Jamaican singer Konshens for copyright infringement and unjust enrichment.
The groundbreaking decision protects the copyright of musicians whose songs are used as “caller tunes” by telecom companies and distributed without paying them their royalties.
The suit was filed by Konshens claiming that Airtel Uganda infringed his copyright by using his songs as caller tunes without his consent. The songs included ‘Simple Song,’ G’ yal a Bubble’, S’o Mitan’, S’ top Sign’, ‘Jamaican Dance’, K’ onshens Jaz Version,’ N’o Retreat’ and J’ah Love me’
In the ruling Justice, Patricia Mutesi ordered ” the plaintiff (Konshens) is awarded general damages of USD 180,000 as compensation for infringement of his copyright in the suit songs”
Interest is awarded on 180,000 USD at the rate of 15% per annum from the date of filing suit until full payment.
The decision comes at a time when Ugandan musicians are pushing for the amendment of the Copyright Act as telecom companies grab their songs and money made from using musicians’ songs as caller tunes without their consent.
Legal experts say this is an opportunity for musicians to pursue the cause of Ugandan musicians who could have been cheated on royalties to pursue their claims.
By press time Airtel was yet to reply to our email asking for their comments on the legal developments.