Court to decide Sunny Ade’s suit October 30
A Federal High Court, Lagos yesterday fixed October 30, 2015 to deliver judgment in a N2 billion suit filed by juju music star, Dr. Sunday Adeniyi Adeye popularly known as King Sunny Ade against African Songs Limited and seven others.
Apart from the firm, other defendants in the suit are: Take Your Choice Records Store Limited, Lati Alagbada Nigeria Limited, Record Manufacturers of Nigeria, Ibukunola Printers AlhajaAwawuAmodu and one M O Alagbada.
Justice James Tsoho adjourned the matter for judgment after counsel to the Plaintiff, Mr. Dapo Oduwole and that of the respondents Mr. Ademola Olowoyeye adopted their final written addresses.
The plaintiff (Sunny Ade) had in suit number FHC/L/CS/196/97 demanded for N2 billion as general damages against the defendants over alleged infringement and copyright of his musical works.
In his 41-paragraph statement of claim, the plaintiff alleged that in 1970, he entered into a five-year agreement with the first defendant to reproduce the said works and sell under its record label.
He, however, claimed that upon the expiration of the agreement period in 1975, the first defendant refused to return to him the master tapes of the songs despite repeated demands from its then Chief Executive Officer, who is now late, Chief Bolarinwa Abioro.
He claimed that a suit instituted on the subject matter in 1974 was resolved in his favour by Justice L.J. Dosunmu in 1975.
He, however, claimed that in spite of the judgment, the defendants had continued to reproduce and distribute his works without his authorisation, causing him both social and financial losses.
The plaintiff also urged the court to direct the defendants jointly and severally to deliver all copies of his musical works including compact disc, cassette as well as photographs in their possession.
But the 1st and 2nd defendants in their amended statement of defence and counter claim urged the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s suit with substantial cost for lack of reasonable cause of action.
They urged the court to hold that the agreement made on October 6th, 1970 between the plaintiff and the first defendant still subsists and that the plaintiff’s quest to exercise right of ownership of the copyright is an abuse of judicial process.
Contrary to Sunny Ade’s claims, the defendants claimed that their relationship with the musician dated back to 1966 when they received and negotiated musical performance bookings for him, in addition to sponsoring his musical tour of the United Kingdom.
According to them, Clause 9 of the 1970 agreement vested the sole right of production, reproduction, sale, use and performance of the works throughout the world in the 1st defendant.
Consequently, they asked the court to dismiss Sunny Ade’s case and also award N500m against the musician for the damages that they had suffered from 1997 when Sunny Ade obtained a restraining order against them.