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Equity Bank ordered to pay Sh5M for illegal use of “Wings to Fly” song

Equity Bank has been ordered to pay a university student Sh5 million for the illegal use of his intellectual property – a song he composed in 2013.

Eric Obiero Nyadida had sued Equity Bank for allegedly using his music to promote its Wings to Fly scholarship program without pay.

He was claiming Sh10 million to pay for the song, among other constitutional and fundamental reliefs from the bank.

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According to Mr. Nyadida, he composed the song at the age of 16, while in Form Two at Maranda High School and recorded it at Homeboyz Studio.

Mr further said that he was assisted through the process by his manager John Kennedy who got him an opportunity to create an original piece of music to be used by Equity Bank for their Wings to Fly project.

Apart from paying Mr. Edwin Obiero Nyadida for the illegal use of his musical work, Justice Wilfrida Okwany directed the lender, together with the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji and the police, to pay him Sh250,000 for malicious prosecution.

Mr. Nyadida said he was dragged to court and charged with forgery for pursuing his rights from the lender. The case was terminated three years later.

“The bank told my brother and I through a letter that we had committed a criminal offence and we were to take statements the next day at Equity Centre,” said Nyadida.

“The case took three years in court and I was acquitted on October 3, 2017, since the prosecution had not provided enough evidence for the offence,” added Mr. Nyadida.

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He was prosecuted at the instigation of the lender for forgery alongside his brother Geoffrey Nyadida Odongo and then acquitted in October 2017 for lack of evidence.

“This court had a chance to listen to the petitioner’s music ‘Wings to Fly’ when the same was played in court during the hearing. I noted that there was a striking similarity between the said song and the one used by the bank in advertising its programme, also dubbed ‘Wings to Fly’,” the judge said.

Mr. Nyadida praised the decision terming it as overwhelming.

“I must say, that the greatest pleasure I have had is to achieve something that many creatives have fought for over the years, and while doing so, I have had the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of giants. I undertook to fight the good fight, to get involved in some good trouble, if I may say so,” he said in a statement.

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According to Mr. Nyadida, he demanded Sh10 million for the work after the bank liked the song. The bank, instead, offered to give him a scholarship but his parents rejected the offer and chose the money.

The bank, through Edward Muchai, admitted that he met him sometime in 2013 when he came to his office with music on a CD that he wanted him to listen to.

Mr. Muchai said Mr. Nyadida’s song was not an original song but an extraction of the “Reunion” song, which can be found online.

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