Court awards " Wings to Fly" musician Sh5Million in copyright case against bank

A commercial court in Nairobi has told Equity Bank to pay a music artist Sh5.2 million because it broke the artist's copyright and hurt the artist's reputation with its "Wings to Fly" project.

Justice Wilfrida Okwany said that it was strange for the lender to make up false accusations of wrongdoing against Eric Obiero, who was 16 at the time, and bring him before the magistrate's court while using his song in a charity event without his permission.

The court made the observation that equity was harsh due to the fact that Obiero was a student at the same time.

"I find it extremely amusing that the respondents, who support the education of brilliant needy kids via their program called "Wings to Fly," should choose to punish the petitioner, who was himself a student, in such a harsh way.


"In my considered opinion, the respondents could have employed other means to amicably settle the differences that they may have had with the petitioner over the music contract rather than involve the police in the matter," said Justice Okwany. "My conclusion is based on my consideration of the evidence," said Justice Okwany.

According to what Obiero said in front of the court, he contacted Equity in May 2013 with a plan to publicize "Wings to Fly." He consented to write an original composition, after which Equity made him an offer to buy the work for 10 million shillings.

Court awards " Wings to Fly" musician Sh5Million in copyright case against bank

During his statement in front of the court, he alleged that Equity had a change of heart and was instead the reason for his arrest and conviction for the crime of forgery. In addition to him, his brother, Geoffrey Odongo, was arrested and accused. On October 3, 2017, the court was informed that both defendants had been found not guilty.

But Obiero said in front of the court that Equity was adamant about charging him with a crime and bringing him before the court. In addition, he was tried as an adult despite being a child when the charges were brought against him, according to his testimony. According to testimony presented in court, Obiero was a 16-year-old student enrolled in high school. He said that the contract to compose a song to promote Equity's charity was negotiated for him by one John Kennedy, who also served as his manager.

He claims that the bank made him an offer for a scholarship in return for the rights to the song, but that his parents were opposed to the concept. According to him, the bank afterwards made an offer of 10 million shillings.


According to what Justice Okwany was told, the bank eventually revised the offer to be worth Sh2.5 million and began using the music even before the transaction had been finalized. Obiero says that after several letters were sent back and forth, the bank's legal team threatened to take legal action against him and Odongo.

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