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MTN Uganda sued over ‘Kwata Essimu’ song

Viva Entertainment Limited has dragged Giant telecommunication company MTN Uganda to court seeking compensation of over  Shs100 million for allegedly selling its song titled “Kwata Essimu” as caller tune without its authorization.

The Company in its lawsuit claims to have written, produced, published, and invested money in the song. They want the court to declare that the sale of Kwata Esimu as a caller tune to the public without its consent amounts to an infringement of their copyright and unjust enrichment.

They further explain that it is a well-known music entertainment company providing music label services including recording, distribution, and publishing of musical works and the signing of music artists one of whom is Adam Mandela alias Free boy who sang the said song with Winnie Nwagi.

The Complainant (VIVA Entertainment) wrote, financially invested, incurred vast costs, produced and published a musical work titled “Kwata Essimu” which was a major hit and extremely popular amongst the public,”

Despite the song’s popularity, the plaintiff (Viva Entertainment) was not able to fully recoup the cost incurred while producing the said musical work due to the limitations in commercial engagement in the said work caused by the defendant’s illegal exploitation of the song without authorization from the plaintiff (Viva Entertainment),” court documents reads

Free-Boy and Winnie Nwagi during Kwata-Essimu video shoot

Court documents read that Viva Entertainment had plans of commercializing the said song through the exclusive licensing of its use to various corporate entities in Uganda and abroad.

MTN provides caller tunes to customers at a monthly subscription fee of shs700 hundred which is accessible to MTN’s wide customer base in Uganda as it is the biggest consumer base of telecommunication users.

Winnie Nwagi and Freeboy performs during the launch of MTN Momo Nyabo promo SEASON 3

The Civil Division Registrar Jameson Karemani has summoned MTN Uganda to file their defense within 15 days before the case is fixed for hearing. This is not the first time MTN Uganda is being sued on matters related to caller tunes.  In 2012, the late Kampala Mayor Nasser Ssebagala sued MTN Uganda and SMS Media Limited accusing them of using his speeches and addresses as ringtones and caller tunes without his consent.

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