Legal Drama

MCSN Prevails Over Multichoice Motion to Dismiss, 5.2 Billion Naira Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Heads to Trial

Folks, get your boxing gloves on because we are in legal war zones. If you do not like legal boxing or do not have the stomach for it, understood. There are many business articles on AML to help yourself to. Avoid the ones filled with legal drama like this one. Folks, the MCSN pending litigation is very interesting and AML artists, you all should be VERY interested in the outcome of this case.

Multichoice makes an offensive move and appeals to a trial court to grant it a “perpetual” aka “titi lai lai” aka “forever and ever” injunction that would stop MCSN from asking Multichoice to get a license from MCSN or you the AML artists if it will play your music on its radio airwaves, television channels and what have you. If you are thinking ” no joke,” then me and you both on that one. In any event, Multichoice pulls that move. MCSN responds with a blow to the gut in a counter suit that says, “we are so not playing with you.” They sue for 5.2Billion Naira for copyright infringement dating from 2006 until present.

The court listens to the arguments and rules for MCSN. It tosses out Multichoice’s request for an injunction and that it dismisses MCSN’s case and it says, the 5.2billion Naira goes to trial.

It beats me why Multichoice would want to make money and eat but it does not want the artists to eat also? Who applies for a perpetual injunction from getting a license to use someone else’s copyrighted work????????? Off the hook!

Brief recap on how a case travels through the court system.

1. You get sued/sued. Here, a complaint or petition is filed.
2. The defendant, the one sued answers. If the defendant does not answer, it is an automatic default judgment in most jurisdictions (courts/countries etc.) for the Plaintiff. If the Defendant answers, we get into a discovery phase.
3. Pre-trial/discovery phase. Discovery = investigations. Plus, this is the time lawyers make even more moves. You can make moves through what is called motions in #2. When we get past that stage, you can make even more moves. If you are a defendant like Multichoice, your goal is to get your case out of court. So, you make your chess moves, unleash your legal weapons or what have you. They did through a request for injunction which was denied.
4. Trial phase. After the discovery phase, we head to trial. In between that, more motions can be filed, parties can try to settle; and they can seek mediation or even arbitration to resolve their palava (problems).

Okay, I’m done with this story. Check out and excerpt and let’s move on to the next.

“MULTICHOICE Nigeria Limited has lost a bid to stop a N5.2 Billion counter-claim suit brought against it at a Federal High Court, Lagos by the Musical Copyright Society Nigeria (MCSN) for the illegal use of its works from 2006 till date.

The Court presided over by Justice Mohammed Idris dismissed a preliminary objection filed by the digital satellite television firm, and fixed November 1, 2012 for commencement of trial on the suit.

Earlier, Multichoice had filed a writ of summons against MCSN, praying the court to grant a perpetual injunction stopping MCSN from asking or demanding from Multichoice to obtain copyright licence for the broadcast and communication to the public of musical works on the radio and television channels operated and distributed by Multichoice within Nigeria because MCSN was not licensed or approved by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) as a collecting society.

Based on the suit, MCSN filed a counterclaim of N5.2 billion for the infringement of its copyright by Multichoice Nigeria from 2006 till date.

However in its objection to MCSN’s counterclaim, Multichoice relied on the Court of Appeal judgment in the case of Compact Discs Technologies Limited vs. MCSN delivered in March 2010, urging the court to dismiss the claim of MCSN on that basis.

But MCSN in its defence, contended that the Compact Disc judgment was not applicable to the Multichoice case due to the fact that the judgment was given per incuriam, that is, that all necessary provisions of the Copyright Act and issues of laws were not considered.

It argued further that the 1999 Constitution and several authorities of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court are clear that interests already acquired by and vested in an individual cannot be divested retroactively or retrospectively by any law, as MCSN has acquired most of its copyright, which are the subject matter in the case before the enactment of the Copyright Act 2004 and the establishment of the NCC. . . “

The Guardian has the full story.

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Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at https://msuduak.com.

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