Singers Winnie Nakanwagi aka Winnie Nwagi and Mubarak Adams Mandela aka Free Boy have sued telecommunications giant MTN Uganda over Kwata Esimu caller tune.
Winnie Nwagi and Free Boy filed their suit through Viva Entertainment Limited represented by Katende, Ssempebwa and Company Advocates.
The singers and Viva Entertainment claim that MTN used their song as a caller tune with neither their consent nor authorization.
That MTN Uganda’s actions are an infringement of their copyright and amount to unjust enrichment on part of the telecom giant.
MTN Uganda charges Shs700 monthly for the caller tune.
“Despite the song’s popularity, the plaintiff [Viva Entertainment] was not able to fully recoup the cost incurred while producing the said musical work due to the limitations in commercial engagement in the said work caused by the defendant’s [MTN Uganda’s] illegal exploitation of the song without authorization from the plaintiff,” argued Viva Entertainment in their suit.
“The popularity of the song was so immense it triggered dance challenges locally and abroad from fans dubbed ‘Kwata Esimu Challenge’ which was a statement to the song’s popularity.”
Winnie Nwagi, Free Boy and Viva Entertainment want MTN to pay them Shs175m as compensation for the unauthorized use of their song, 100 per cent in royalties since 2019, costs of the suit and a permanent order restricting the telecom giant from using their work without authorization.
MTN has 15 days within which to formally respond.