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Copyright Legal Battle: MultiChoice Appeal Judgement

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By peter oluka

MultiChoice Nigeria has appealed the Federal High Court judgment on an eight-year-old copyright infringement legal battle between the South African firm and the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria Ltd/GTE.

Disclosing MultiChoice’s next line of action, Caroline Oghuma of the PR department said that the Firm has already filed an appeal.

Recall, the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court awarded N5.9 billion “special damages” against Multichoice Nigeria Limited in an eight-year-old copyright infringement legal battle between the South African firm and the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria Ltd/GTE.

In his judgement, Justice Mohammed Idris struck out MultiChoice’s claims against the defendant, the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria Ltd (MCSN)/GTE.

The judge said, “The court having delivered judgment this 19th day of January, 2018, striking out the plaintiff’s claims, it is hereby ordered as follows: That judgment is entered in favour of the defendant/counter-claimant in the following terms: N5,490,652,125 only as special damages.”

The court also awarded separate sums of N200 million and N309 million as general and aggravated damages respectively against MultiChoice in favour of the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria Ltd./GTE.

MultiChoice had dragged the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria to court in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1091/11seeking a perpetual injunction restraining the group from asking or demanding them to obtain copyright licence for the broadcast and communication to the public of musical works on the radio and television channels operated and distributed by Multichoice.

According to the company, MCSN was not licensed or approved by the Nigerian Copyright Commission as a collecting society.

The suit had come after MCSN wrote to MultiChoice in 2011 demanding N4.1 billion as cumulative copyright and royalties for its body of works used by the latter during the airing of its programmes.

In its counter-claim filed before the judge, MCSN accused MultiChoice of copyright infringement on 18 songs in its repertoire, including ‘Konko Below’ and ‘Never Far Away’ by Nigerian masked musician, Bisade Ologunde (popularly known as Lagbaja).

The other songs, which the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria Ltd/GTE accused MultiChoice of using without lawful permission included UEFA Cup thematic music and UEFA Championship League thematic music.

“The defendant to the counter-claim did each of these acts in the course of and to promote their businesses and to make profit without the authority or licence of the counter-claimant and the counterclaimant has suffered loss and damage,” the MCSN had argued in its counterclaim.

“The defendant to the counterclaim bluntly refused or neglected to voluntarily apply for and obtain the permission of the counter-claimant before deploying the musical works of the counter-claimant’s repertoire into the defendant’s broadcasting activities.

“The defendant has continued to infringe upon the works and has threatened to do so continually unless restrained by this honourable court.

“By its acts of infringement aforesaid, well knowing that it was thereby infringing the copyright of the counterclaimant, the defendant has acted in flagrant disregard of the rights of the counter-claimant. On this premise, the counter-claimant is entitled to and claim from the defendant additional damages pursuant to Section 16(4) of the Copyright Act 2004.”

But, in her response, Oghuma said, “MultiChoice Nigeria is aware that the Federal Court of Nigeria ruled in favour of MCSN in a case on 19 January, 2018.

“MultiChoice has filed an appeal as well as a stay of execution against the Federal Court’s judgement. However as the case remains Sub Judice, we are prevented from providing further details at this point.

“We remain committed to supporting the Nigerian entertainment industry through direct investment in various productions, collaboration on projects, and showcasing the works of established and emerging talent in Nigeria. As a law abiding and responsible organisation, MultiChoice Nigeria also regularly pays royalties to the Copyrights Society of Nigeria (COSON), for all Nigerian music played on our platform”.


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University.

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NCC Threatens Illegal Users of GSM Boosters with Arrest, Prosecution

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Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has warned telecom consumers to desist from using illegal GSM boosters.

NCC Threatens Illegal Users of GSM Boosters with Arrest, Prosecution

The commission also said that anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.

GSM boosters are devices that transmit and receive telecommunications signals and can therefore interfere with other radio frequency equipment.

Ikechukwu Adinde, director, public affairs, NCC, said in a notice published on NCC website, that only licensed network operators are allowed to use GSM boosters.

The booster, also known as amplifier or repeater is made up of three main elements – exterior antenna, amplifier, and interior antenna.

They form a wireless system to boost cellular reception

“Members of the public should note that, willful interference with any wireless telegraphy is an offence under Section 16 of the Telegraphy Act, 2004,”it said

The agency said it will not condone any flagrant breach of this law.

It has also enforced measures to prosecute offenders.

Accordingly, monitoring mechanisms have been put in place and anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.

“Any member of the public with useful information regarding the illegal use of GSM Boosters should contact the Commission on 09-4617000/7351 or send an email to [email protected],” the notice said.

“Individuals desirous of using GSM Boosters should note that they can only do so in conjunction with licensed network operators,” it added.

 

 


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Tizeti Selects Nokia to Provide LTE Fixed Wireless Access Solution for High-Speed internet Services in Nigeria

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Tizeti announced that it selected Nokia’s Fastmile Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology to enable usprovide superior internet services to over 1 Million subscribers in Port Harcourt, Edo and Ogun in Nigeria.

Tizeti Selects Nokia to Provide LTE Fixed Wireless Access Solution for High-Speed internet Services in Nigeria

Tizeti will deploy Nokia’s AirScale Base Station TDD-LTE and FastmileFixed Wireless Access (FWA) gatewaysto deliver premium internet and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services to Residential, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The solution will also enable Tizeti’sto deliver a more robust, high-speedinternet service to subscribers and the flexibility to seamlessly evolve to 5G Fixed Wireless Access when needed.

Nokia’s FWA solution enables Tizeti to fast-track broadband access and provide a best-in-class broadband experience to its subscribers.

Nokia’sAirScale Base Stations ensure high-quality connectivity and coverage and enablesTizeti to evolve the network in line with customer demand.

Nokia’sFastmilegateways connect wirelessly to the existing network to createa fastbroadband connection and enhanced Wi-Fi experience in the home.

The Nokia Network Services Platform will help Tizeti to simplify operations and quickly respond to changing market demands.

Kendall Ananyi, Tizeti, said:“We are committed to providing the best-in-class network experience to our subscribers. We are confident that Nokia’s proven technology and expertise will help us differentiate our services based on quality. This a crucial project for us as it introduces LTE in our networks and allows us to bring new and innovative services to our subscribers.”

Eniola Balogun, Nokia, said:“We are thrilled to work with Tizeti on the initiative to upgrade their network to bring the latest products and services to its subscribers. Nokia Fastmile will help Tizeti to cost-effectively enhance the customer experience.

The project will also enable them to delight their subscribers by providing more reliable data services.

On the other hand, Tizeti will benefit by adding new revenue streams.”

 

 


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Risk Assets Push Higher on Vaccine Hopes; Eyes on the Fed

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By Hussein Sayed, Chief Market Strategist at FXTM,

After two consecutive weeks of back-to-back declines, global stocks kicked off Monday with solid gains amid a surge in M&A activity and positive signs towards vaccine developments. Currency markets were little changed ahead of a busy week of monetary policy announcements, while Oil and Gold ticked slightly higher.

The two big deals announced over the weekend were Softbank’s plan to sell chipmaker ARM to Nvidia for more than $40 billion and Gilead Sciences to acquire Immunomedics for a price tag of $21 billion. Meanwhile, on the vaccine front, AstraZeneca resumed its phase-3 trial on Covid-19 after being suspended last week following a neurological illness developed in one participant, and Pfizer announced that its vaccine could be distributed before year-end if found safe and effective.

 

Central Banks will take centre stage this week with the Federal Reserve, Bank of England and Bank of Japan all due to announce policy decisions. Out of the three meetings, the Fed is likely to be the most watched following its historic shift towards average inflation targeting. The big question remains how will the FOMC put this policy into action?

 

From what we know now, the Fed is set up to keep interest rates near zero for a long time, possibly for several years. Given the new framework, any spike in inflation won’t translate into immediate rate hikes as the Fed wants to compensate for the lost years when they have failed to hit the target. The dot plot will be the key guide for investors and traders alike. If inflation projections remain at 2% or below for the foreseeable future, this will solidify market expectations for a low rate environment for many years to come. That said, Jay Powell would still have to explain in more detail how the new framework will be translated into policy action.

 

In June’s economic projections, the Fed anticipated unemployment would be at 9.3% by year-end, but, in August, unemployment was well below that forecast at 8.4%. Many other economic data surprised to the upside during the June – August period in a clear sign that most economists were overly pessimistic towards the strength of the recovery. However, there is still a considerable amount of uncertainty given the latest surge in Covid-19 cases worldwide and the US, especially as we get closer into the winter season. A second wave will undoubtedly put the recovery at risk in the final quarter of the year and it will be interesting to see the Fed’s view on that issue.

 

As for the market selloff over the past two weeks, the Fed isn’t likely to show any signs of concern. In fact, policymakers should be satisfied with the pullback as the risk of a bubble in several assets has been growing due to the Fed’s extremely accommodative policies. Unless we see another 10 -15% drop, do not expect the Fed to intervene.


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