This seems not to be the best of times for telecom giant MTN Nigeria Communication as the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has filed criminal charges against the telecom company and its Nigeria Chief Executive Officer, Ferdi Moolman, over alleged copyright infringement.
According to a report by Vanguard newspaper, the charge with number ABJ/CR/379/2015 filed in the Federal High Court, Abuja.
In the two-count-charge signed by NCC Prosecutor and Copyright Inspector, Marypauline Olere-Luma; MTN and Moolman were alleged to have infringed on copies of the musical work of an Abuja based musician, Dovie Omenuwoma-Eniwo (aka Baba 2010).
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the case.
The defendants were alleged to have “distribute, sell or let for hire or for the purposes of trade or business, expose or offer for sale 3009 infringing copies of the musical work’’ of Baba 2010.
The musical works allegedly infringed upon by the defendants included; “Omotena, Gentleman, Christian and unity song’’ by the musician.
The offences, according to the charge, are contrary to and punishable under Section 20 (2)(a) and 20 (2)(b) of the Copyright Act, Cap C28 Laws of the Federation 2004.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari met with President Jacob Zuma in Johannesburg to discuss MTN’s $5.2bn fine in Nigeria.
The Nigerian Communications Commission fined MTN for failing to disconnect five million unregistered SIM cards in a timely manner.
Nigeria’s SIM card registration process is designed to curb terror and criminal threats in that country.
Nigerian telecoms authorities later reduced the heavy $5.2bn fine imposed on MTN Group by 30 %