Legendary Nigerian musician, Onyeka Onwenu, has sued IROKING, a music and movie distributor, over violation of her copyright, TheNation newspaper reports.
According to the report, Onyeka was at the Lagos High Court on Monday, where her N205 million suit against Iroking was heard. The singer had earlier publicised her intention to go legal over the alleged copyright infringement issue which she described as “massive violation of my musical copyright dues and the illegal exploitation of my intellectual property.”
She said, “For years, Iroking profited from the sale of my music, even after a two-year contract it signed with me had elapsed. For years, also, they denied that they were doing so, they denied that they had made any profits from their illegal exploits.
“When they were caught in the lie, they wanted to settle but refused to show up for meetings. Iroking as a company is arrogant and has no regard for the people, artistes whose works and labor have made them successful.
“We are therefore suing to make a point. Artistes have a right to profit from their intellectual property and labor. Nigeria has copyright laws, which ought to be respected. The music industry has been built up and sustained by artistes and entrepreneurs like me. I demand to be protected by the laws of my country. Iroking must pay for this violation.”
Mrs. Onwenu urged other artistes to be vigilant, and wake up to their rights, especially in the Internet era.
“It is also my hope that other artistes will wake up and demand for what is due them. Many do not know that their music is being exploited on YouTube and other carriers.
”Some Record Companies are selling our music on the internet and claiming ownership of the Copyright. If only we would pay attention, artistes would discover that while they had been doing all the creative work, investing in their careers and in the industry at large, someone else is collecting all the profit. Enough is Enough!”