ETISALAT and OPTIMA MEDIA GROUP have courted huge trouble with multi-talented star artiste, PAUL PLAY.
One of Nigeria’s biggest Reality TV show, ‘Nigerian Idol’, funded and staged by Etisalat and Optima Media Group Limited respectively, might be forced by a law court to cough out a sum of N200m (Two Hundred Million Naira) for the copyright infringement and unauthorized usage of “Mosorire” – a copyright protected work by Paul I.K. Dairo popularly known as Paul Play.
The artiste, Paul Play is suing Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services Ltd. (EMTS) popularly known as ETISALAT for the unauthorized usage of his works which were registered with Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN) when the artiste was still a member.
In year 2008, Paul Play terminated his contract with MCSN and subsequently joined BROADCAST MUSIC INCORPORATION (BMI) with membership number CAE/IP: 295878298.
Etisalat and Optima group being the promoter and organizer of the show (Nigerian Idol) respectively caused the use, adaptation and redeployment of Paul Play’s work without his consent and aired it to millions of subscribers within and outside the shores of Nigeria for their 2012 and 2013 editions.
RADAR.NG gathered that after the song “Mosorire” was reproduced and performed on Nigerian Idol stage, the song was published to the whole world and the video was made available on video sharing website, Youtube.
Therefore, Etisalat Nigeria and Optima Media Group breached Paul Play’s copyright when the song was reproduced and performed on Nigeria idol stage without his authorization or permission.
Further investigations revealed that Paul Play never gave authorization for the usage of his works to anybody for reproduction or performance on the Nigerian Idol show.
When Paul Play’s rep contacted Etisalat last year via an e-mail intimating them about the infringement of the copyright work and further demanded for the compensation and license fee for the grant of appropriate authorization for the exploitation of his song tagged “Mosorire”, they refused to comply to his demands, which later aggravated to the lawsuit.
Optima Group which isn’t new to infringement lawsuits also overlooked the said notice.
According to a top insider currently working at Etisalat, it was a careless move by the company to infringe on the right of the artiste. ‘Etisalat knew what they were doing or were just careless. When Paul Play’s lawyers wrote the company concerning this matter, Etisalat and Optima ignored the notice acting like there is nothing a mere artiste can do to them. They are used to treating us Nigerians terribly – especially us their workers. If I should tell you half the things that go down here, you will be shocked. I think this will serve them right…’, he revealed to RADAR.NG.
‘This is really embarassing for a company of Etisalat’s status,’ a few media pundits also quipped.
As the author, composer and producer of the music work, Paul Play claimed that he is usually entitled to a sum of N100m each year whenever his permission or consent is sought for the use of any of his songs or related audio visual works.