According to the Director-General, NCC, Mr. Afam Ezekude, the criminal prosecution is the outcome of an investigation carried out by the Commission following a complaint by Mr. Omenuwoma Dovie a.k.a. Baba 2010 an Abuja based entertainer/artist of the unauthorized use of his music as a ring-back caller tune by MTN.
The investigation and subsequent institution of criminal prosecution against MTN, was instrumental in prompting them to negotiate an out of court settlement to the tune of Fifty Million (N50M) Naira to the artist.
Reacting to this development, Director-General, NCC, explained that the Nigerian Copyright Law provides for both criminal and civil actions to run simultaneously on the same matter, he therefore advises that both avenues should be pursued to heighten the threat of double sanctions in criminal and civil actions to act as a strong deterrent to others.
He further stated that instituting civil proceedings will acts as a strong motivation for infringers to seek settlement as infringed parties stands to get more compensation in civil proceedings. Mr. Ezekude also noted that MTN’s out of court settlement with the artist does not negate or nullify the statutory duty of the Commission to institute criminal proceedings against MTN.
He assured that the case is being continued as the Commission wants to send a strong signal to all offenders irrespective of their social status, of its zero tolerance to infringement and piracy.
Similarly, the Commission has instituted ten (10) fresh cases against copyright infringers in different Federal High Court Jurisdiction across the country.