Man sues Equity Bank for copyright violation over ‘Wings to Fly’ ad song
A 21-year-old man is embroiled in a legal battle with a local bank over an intellectual property right row on an advertisement song.
In the case, Mr Eric Obiero Nyadida has sued Equity Bank, its foundation, the Director of Public Prosecution, the Inspector General of Police, the National Police Service and the Attorney General over the song that usually accompanies the Wings to Fly scholarships advertisement.
“I am the creator of the musical piece ‘Wings to fly’ yet the bank continues to commercially benefit from my work having paid me no consideration for use of the same,” he said.
According to the man, he composed the disputed piece of music and gave it to the said bank in 2013 for its own use.
He handed his recorded CD to a Mr Edward Muchai who allegedly gave him a contract that he signed. He alleged that Mr Muchai did not sign where he was to sign.
Eric claimed that he had registered his song with the Music Copyright Society of Kenya and was given a membership number 8015 having recorded it at Homeboyz studios together with his manager John Kennedy before her gave it to the bank.
The bank was to pay him Sh10 million as the total sum of monies for buying the rights of the disputed song from him as the original composer.
However, in 2014, he claims that the bank reviewed that sum saying that his image was not that of a musician and that he had an unknown fan base.
Whilst the said bank promised to pay him Sh 2.5million, he claimed that he did not agree to that review and that he was asked to get his parents to countersign the contract since he was only age 16 at the time.
He alleged that he was told that he would be paid after two weeks and that the monies were to be paid through his mother’s bank details which were taken.
But on September 30, 2014, he was called to a meeting by the managers who denied knowledge of any existing contract between him and the bank.
His brother wrote a protest letter to the Chief executive officer Dr James Mwangi who acknowledged receipt and indicated that the matter was to be addressed.
In 2015, however, the bank wrote to his mother indicating that it had no existing contract with him hence accused him of forgery while aiming at defrauding them.
The bank had them arrested by officers from the Banking Fraud Investigative Unit and took them to Kileleshwa police station with adults despite Eric being a minor.
After being arraigned, charged and undergoing trial, the duo was acquitted in October 3, 2017 as the Magistrate court ruled that the bank had not proved the charges levelled against them beyond reasonable doubt.
Following their acquittal, they embarked on seeking his money yet again with the help of a lawyer but the bank yet again denied ever having a contract with Eric over the disputed song.
In the case documents, Eric terms the arrest and prosecution as mere intimidation, was malicious and a violation of his right to property yet the bank has greatly benefited as well as improved its popularity.
“The constitution entrust the judiciary to protect individuals from unjust application of the rule of the majority, the rights of those continued to be trampled upon should be protected accordingly by the courts,” said his lawyer Dr John Khaminwa.
He added: “The violation of his fundamental rights continues to be breached and unless restrained he stands to suffer a great loss and damage hence the urgency of this matter.”
Eric wants the bank to temporarily stop using his song in their ads in either television or internet platform until his case is determined.