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Mwana FA, AY to return Sh100 million awarded in copyright case

The High Court in Dar es Salaam has reversed a 2016 ruling against MIC (T) Limited popularly known as Tigo that ordered the telecom giant to pay Bongo flava artistes Hamis Mwinjuma alias Mwana FA and Ambwene Yessayah alias AY about Sh100 million for copyright infringement.

In its decision, high court judge Joacquine De-Mello sided with Tigo and agreed to overturn the ruling on grounds the Ilala District Court lacked legal jurisdiction to handle the case.

The court said the District Court could only hear cases with a monetary interest not higher than Tsh300 million (approximatelyKsh14 million).

The decision comes after AY and Mwana FA had already been paid the sum of Sh100 million by the appellant in 2016 after a lengthy legal battle which started in 2012.

Tigo had gone through all extremes to launch a preemptive court order that would have shielded it from paying the money.

However, all efforts proved fruitless after the two musicians sought an injunctive relief from the Ilala District Court, which moved to freeze the appellant’s bank accounts.

Tigo’s legal representative Rosan Mbwambo said that his client will issue a letter demanding that AY and Mwana FA return the amount of money they were paid.

“If they (AY and Mwana FA) do not comply with the demands of the letter we will file a motion in court seeking necessary remedy,” said the advocate.

In the primary case which filed in the Ilala District Resident Magistrate court in 2012, the two artistes sought monetary compensation from MIC on grounds that the company infringed their intellectual property rights by using their two songs ‘Usije Mjini’ and ‘Dakika Moja’ which they copyrighted in 2010 as caller tunes without their approval.

The initial compensation which was sought by the artistes was Tsh4.3 billion (about Sh206 million), which was then reduced to Tsh2.1 billion (Sh100 million) by the district court.