Copyright is increasingly becoming an important discussion in the field of art yet it is not black and white as it may seem. With the technological advances in various forms of art such as Music, Photography, Film, etc., artistes need to be aware of their rights now more than ever before.
Over the weekend, Rapper Wangechi announced her win in a court case against Mobile Phone giant Tecno. According to the ‘Used To It’ hitmaker, Tecno Mobile used her images without her consent in 2016 for an Ad Campaign of one of their phones.
Wangechi said that Tecno pulled down the pictures and went quiet after she complained about the use of her photos. She added that she did not receive any form of compensation from the mobile phone company. Upon winning the case Wangechi thanked her legal team at Omuodo Advocates for their good job on her social media adding that she hopes this case will set a precedence for similar cases in the future.
4 years ago my constitutional rights to privacy were infringed.
Today the courts ruled in my favor and proved I have a right to control how my image & likeness is used publicly.
Toast to my legal team @OmuodoA for a guaranteed win
Hope this sets a precedence for future cases pic.twitter.com/OjGCL7mWG2
— WANGECHI (@wangechikenya) September 17, 2020
This ruling is among the first of its kind in Kenya and has provided insights to Kenyans on the importance of knowing their constitutional rights. Tecno Mobile is not the first commercial giant to find itself in hot soup over copyright infringement allegations, in 2002 Mugithi singer JB Maina sued Safaricom for using 10 of his songs for SKIZA and Surf 2 Win promotion. Fashion content creator Nancy Mwai recently send out demand letters to 13 Kenyan Instagram Stores via her lawyer seasoned IP Lawyer Liz Lenjo, for using her images without her consent to promote their sales.
Last year, singers AY and Mwana FA won in a landmark ruling against Telco giant Tigo. The 2 Tanzanian stars sued the Europe based company for selling their music to Tigo customers as ring back tunes without the consent of the artistes and without remunerating the 2 stars.
Users of copyrighted material need to understand that a lot of work and finances go into creating any form of art. This, therefore, enforces the need for equitable remuneration for the exploitation of copyrighted works. Wangechi’s win serves as a lesson to everyone on the need to respect the copyright and constitutional rights of others.