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Influencer Brian Mutinda gets reprieve in Sh1m suit filed by Nonini over controversial ad

A Nairobi court has set aside a Sh1 million damages claim slapped on content creator Brian Mutinda and Syinix Electronics Ltd for using the contested ‘wee kamu’ slogan in an online advert without the consent of rapper Hubert Nakitare, popularly known as Nonini.

The award was entered against Mr Mutinda and Syinix Electronics Ltd for copyright infringement on March 23 after they failed to appear in court to defend themselves.

However, Mr Mutinda convinced the court to set aside the judgment, arguing he was not given a chance to present his side of the story.

Milimani Chief Magistrate Hosea Ng’ang’a directed the parties to appear before him on June 11 for highlighting submissions and getting a judgment date.

Mr Mutinda further submitted that he shouldn’t be made to pay for the mistakes of his former lawyer, who failed to file a defence.

The social media influencer adds that he only learnt of the judgment on X (formerly Twitter) after Nonini posted the ruling that was in his favour.

“I became aware of the said judgment on March 23, 2023. [Nonini] through his official Twitter handle tagged me on a tweet demanding that he be paid the money,” Mr Mutinda states in an affidavit filed in court. He says he consulted his former lawyers and was told the decision had been entered in default.

“I humbly seek for stay of the court’s judgment and all the proceedings that flowed from the judgment and decree thereof, and pray that this application be heard and determined urgently on priority basis. If the said ex-parte judgment is not set aside and the plaintiff/respondent goes ahead to execute against me, I will suffer loss and damages that cannot be monetarily compensated,” he submitted. Mr Mutinda has denied any wrongdoing in the creation of the advertisement and instead blamed Syinix Electronics Ltd, the company that contracted him to create the content.

“If indeed such a video exists and was posted by the 2nd defendant (Syinix) as alleged, the same was done by the 2nd defendant in its own capacity. The 1st defendant cannot be apportioned liability for acts done by the 2nd defendant,” Mr Mutinda said in papers filed in court.
The content creator adds that it was Syinix that stood to benefit from the content, hence liability cannot be apportioned to him.
“Defendant avers that the content in the said video was for the benefit of the 2nd defendant and the 1st defendant was thus under no legal obligations to obtain a licence for the said video.”

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