Musician sues after being denied information on Skiza revenue
An artiste has sued Safaricom and a marketing firm claiming that they have refused to disclose information on actual revenue collected for use of his musical works as skiza tunes.
Philip Njoroge Kimani wants Liberty Africa Technologies Ltd and Safaricom to tell him how much money his music has made from being used as ringtones and ring back tones.
While the two companies consistently pay him monies, Mr Kimani’s problem is that they have refused to allow him access to revenue reports, statements and data arising from the use of his copyrighted works on the skiza tunes platforms.
As a result, he claims that he has been deprived the opportunity to verify the correctness of his accrued and remitted monthly pay.
“The sued parties have failed, refused or neglected to reveal the Skiza tunes revenue statements despite numerous requests to do so in outright violation of the constitutional right to information,” his lawyer, Kimani Wachira, said.
Safaricom owns the Skiza tunes platform, which enables mobile telephone users to select and download ring back tones to their phones.
It was introduced in 2008 and allows subscribers to customize their ring back tone on their Safaricom line by paying for any kind of music to serve as a ringtone.
The said marketing firm has a contract with Safaricom on content right licenses obtained from musicians for use on the Skiza tune platform.
Mr Kimani’s works have been used on the platform since 2013 and he has since been receiving some payments.
In filed case documents, he alleges that the inaction points out an outright violation of his economic and social rights since information held informs the ability to earn a living through the use of his works since 2013.
He also alleges that he has not been given any reason or explanation as to why the sought for information cannot be disclosed to him.
According to Mr Kimani, his case is urgent and he therefore wants it heard on a priority basis because he is exposed to substantial losses.
“It is an immediate need for this court to intervene in the exercise of its jurisdiction to determine whether the conduct of the sued parties signified by their continued concealing of the said revenue reports is lawful under the constitution,” said Mr Wachira.
While claiming that the suit has been filed in good faith, he also argues that it is in the interest of justice.
The artistes wants the two companies declared to have violated his right to access information, that the refusal is unjust and that they should be compelled to release the sought for information.
He further wants to be paid unspecified compensation for violation of his right to access information.