The $3.9 penalty slapped on MTN by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) is taking different unexpected dimensions as the NCC filed criminal charges against MTN Nigeria Communication and its Nigeria Chief Executive Officer, Ferdi Moolman, over alleged copyright infringement. This is coming a day after the telecoms company announced it was taking NCC to court to challenge whether the regulator has powers to penalize it.
The charge with number ABJ/CR/379/2015 filed in the Federal High Court, Abuja was obtained by newsmen on Friday.
The NCC alleged in the two-count charge signed by its Prosecutor and Copyright Inspector, Marypauline Olere-Luma, that MTN and Moolman infringed on copies of the musical work of an Abuja based musician, Dovie Omenuwoma-Eniwo (aka Baba 2010).
Specifically, the defendants were alleged to “distribute, sell or let for hire or for the purposes of trade or business, expose or offer for sale 3009 infringing copies of the musical work” of Baba 2010.
The musical works allegedly infringed upon by the defendants included; “Omotena, Gentleman, Christian and unity song” by the musician.
The offences, according to the charge, are contrary to and punishable under Section 20 (2)(a) and 20 (2)(b) of the Copyright Act, Cap C28 Laws of the Federation 2004.
A date has not yet been fixed for the hearing of the case.