Veteran Kenyan musician Hubert Nakitare, stage name Nonini has won a copyright infringement case against social media influencer Brian Mutinda, who used his song ‘We Kamu’ in an advert.
In July 2022, Nonini shared an advert by Mutinda showcasing the advertisement of Syinix electronics, stating that he had not goven permission for the use of his song wee kamu’ in the advert.
“Syinix Electronics decided to do a very brilliant advert using my song WeKamu. The only problem is they didn’t ask for permission,” he tweeted.
“A synchronization license is required no matter how small a portion of the song you use especially for commercial purposes. If a song is synced on a video you will need to pay the composer of the song no matter how small the portion of the composition is used,” he complained.
He then moved to court to seek compensation for the illegal use of his copyright.
“Music rightsholders know how to defend their rights, and not having a sync license puts your company at risk. The music industry earns its revenue from copyrights and so music rights holders please take legal action against any form of infringement. Step no 1: 1. Make the infringing party aware that they have infringed your rights through an initial Demand Letter. Give them the right to respond sometimes it’s someone who is ignorant who had no idea what they were doing. 2. When they respond to your letter as per the second letter I have posted they know very well they are on the wrong but they will not admit. At this point they have the option to discuss the matter or thump chest to test you it’s called (Uta do Nini mentality). 3. You reply to the response with the have to admit they were in the wrong then we can open up discussions to settle out of court. Come to an amicable solution. Sometimes they ignore And that point you have no option than to file a case in Court.NB: All the above come with cost implications but ukijipanga tu Kiasi eventually it will pay off. Copyright shall be Respected. End of class! #Mgenge2ru,” he wrote.
Consequently, the judge awarded Nonini Sh1m as general damages for his copyright infringement.
Additionally, the judge directed the defendant to take down the unauthorised video featuring Nonini’s song on their respective social media platforms.
Following the verdict, Nonini expressed his satisfaction with the outcome and took to his social media to celebrate the ruling.
“Today, March 23, 2023, will go down in history (Year of the Jordan) and is a win for the Kenyan music industry #Mgenge2ru Vs the people who used my song ‘WeKamu’ to push a product. #CopyrightShallBeRespected,” Nonini tweeted following the ruling.
The US-based Genge rapper says that he still has several cases touching on copyright that are in court; some for several years.