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Multichoice Appeals Against 5.9bn Judgement

Multichoice, Nigeria digital pay television provider has filed an appeal against the judgement of a Federal High Court, Lagos that ordered it to pay N5.9bn to the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN) over infringement of the copyright of Nigerian musicians. It was a legal battle that has spanned eight years.

Besides, the company through its lawyer,  Mike Igbokwe SAN also filed a motion on notice for an unconditional stay of the execution of the judgement pending the hearing and determination of the appeal against the judgement.

In the judgement delivered  by Justice Mohamed Idris of the Federal court Lagos on January 19, 2018, the court also awarded separate sums of N200m and N309m as general and aggravated damages respectively against Multichoice in favour of  MCSN for  infringing on the copyright on 18 songs, including Konko Below and Never Far Away by Nigerian masked musician, Bisade Ologunde, alias Lagbaja.

The other songs, which the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria Ltd./GTE accused Multichoice of using without lawful permission included UEFA Cup thematic music and UEFA Championship League thematic music.

In the motion on notice filed by Igbokwe,the Multichoice averred that “there is a high risk that unless the order of stay of execution is granted as sought, MCSN would proceed with and conclude execution of the orders made by this Honourable court in the judgement, before the applicant’s appeal is heard and determined, thereby rendering the outcome of the appeal nurgatory”. The motion was filed on January 22, 2018.

The motion was supported by a 16 paragraph affidavit deposed to by Miss Adedamola Adewusi, a lawyer with Multichoice.

Miss Adewusi averred that the court only considered the the case presented to it by the respondent in its counter claim and did not consider the entire of the applicant in the main suit. She averred that the court therefore did not apply substantial justice in striking out the applicant’s entire case.

She further averred that the respondent’s relief were granted in the counter claim without it having the locus standi to claim the said royalties, not being a licensee under the relevant statute.

She further averred that the respondent did not substantiate or proved the amount claimed in the counter claim which was awarded by the court.

While the notice of appeal has been filed before the Lagos division of the Court of Appeal, the Federal High Court has fixed hearing of the motion for stay of execution of judgement for February 22, 2018.

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