The Commercial Division of the High Court has ordered defunct telecom company Warid, now part of Airtel, to pay Shs60 million to Obsessions Music Group for illegally using its music content as caller tunes.
In a ruling delivered by Justice David Wangutusi , court observed that Warid Telecom had infringed on the copy right of the group’s music when it converted and sold it to mobile phone users as caller tunes.
“The used songs depreciated in value and Obsessions was not making any profits since their CDs were not leaving shops and stalls as the songs were played and heard as many times as a subscriber wished,” Justice Wangutusi ruled.
According to evidence adduced in court, the infringement happened in 2008 when Warid telecom recorded several of their songs and offered them for sale to their clients as caller tunes. This reportedly made their (Obessessions’) music to depreciate thus causing a huge loss to the group.
Warid had, however, in its defence said it had lawfully obtained the right to use the songs through a contract signed with DMark Company Limited, which buys and provides musical works as its own.
Warid Telecom was in April last year acquired by Bharti Airtel, an Indian-based telecom giant, which operates in Uganda as Airtel.
The Obsessions Company Ltd has been in existence since 2004 and it has produced songs like Wekuume, Feel Me, Mwekute, Jump and Fukira. The company which initially had more than five musicians has over the years witnessed a split with some of them leaving to pursue sole career in Music. Currently, Musicians Jacqueline Tusiime and Sharon Salmon Nalukenge who are still members of the group are managed by Ronnie Mulindwa.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor