Multichoice Nigeria to Pay N5.9 Billion for Copyright Infringement

The Federal High Court in Lagos has awarded N5.9 billion “special damages” against Multichoice Nigeria in an 8-year-old copyright infringement legal battle between the South Africa firm and the MCSN – Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria LTD.
MultiChoice and the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria Ltd./GTE have been locked in litigation over copyright infringement issues since. MSCN wrote to Multichoice in 2011 demanding N4.1 billion for airing its works as copyright infringement on 18 songs which includes; “Konko below” and “Never Far Away” by Lagbaja. Others includes; UEFA Cup thematic music and UEFA Championship League thematic music.

During the interval, Multichoice had dragged MCSN to court, seeking a perpetual injunction to restrain or stop the MSCN from asking or demanding them to obtain copyright license for broadcast and communication to the public of musical works on the radio and television channels operated and distributed by Multichoice.

Multichoice did this act to promote its business and make profit while MCSN has suffered loss and damages. But in a dramatic twist, Multichoice not only lost the case, the court also upheld the counter-claim by the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria Ltd./GTE.

In a judgment on Friday, Justice Mohammed Idris ordered Multichoice to pay the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria Ltd./GTE a total of N5.9bn.

The judge held, 
The court having delivered judgment this 19th day of January, 2018, striking out the plaintiff’s claims, it is 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.
The court also awarded separate sums of N200m and 309m as general and aggravated damages respectively against Multichoice in favour of the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria Ltd./GTE.
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