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Rumba legends battle Tamasha over copyright infringement claims

BUSINESS
By Fredrick Obura | February 1st 2021
Charles Walioli Wabwoba (R) with some of the confisicated materials  (PHOTO: Courtesy)

NAIROBI, KENYA: Tamasha Corporations is locked in a legal fight with two Congolese musicians over copyright infringement traced back to 1996.

Following a court order in December last year, the applicant in the case Hellen Arika got a leeway to raid Tamasha’s premises where with the help of Kenya police infringing copies of musical works in respect to Kiambukuta Londa Joseph (Josky Kiambukuta) and Late Djo Mpoyi Kanyinda were confiscated.

Tamasha Corporation is the first respondent in a case before Milimani Law Courts (Commercial and Tax Division) challenging copyright infringement of Kiambukuta Londa Joseph (Josky Kiambukuta) and the Late Djo Mpoyi Kanyinda.

The problem began when Hellen Arika an applicant in the case visited a shop in Nairobi and became aware that the respondent has been selling the music of the two artists and collecting royalties.

The second incident was when one of her friends showed her a CD bought from the respondent’s website. In court filings, she says, “She instructed her lawyer to verify if this was possible and the lawyer’s clerk logged online and obtained evidence that this was going on.”

“My artists have been musicians for a long time and one of them, Kiambukuta Londa is sick and suffering in poverty in Congo while Eric Mpoyi son and administrator of late Djo Mpoyi Kanyinda is no better as the family is wallowing in abject poverty and dire conditions,” Arika says in court papers

“It is so unfair for their long careers to end in such ignominy and penury while the defendants continue to reap where they did not sow.”

According to Charles Walioli Wabwoba, Arika’s advocate the nature of infringement dates back to 1996

He notes that since 1996 Tamasha Corporation has been collecting royalties and monies from the musicians’ artistic and musical intellectual properties, keeping and investing illegally acquired royalties and monies arising from unlawful exploitation of their work and representing to the public that it has rights to sell and receive royalties on their behalf.

“Following the raid on Tamasha premises, we have evidence showing that the musicians' rights have been violated,” he says.

Also joined in the case as respondents include Liberty Africa Limited, Xpedia Limited, Google, Mdundo Kenya, Boom Play, Kenya Association of Music Producers, and Apple T/A iTunes.

Hearing of the case is expected on February 26 however the law firm has made a further application to come up before court this week seeking the arrest of Tamasha directors.

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