Veteran Nigerian recording artiste, Onyeka Onwenu, has taken Iroking to court over music piracy. The singer in a suit filed at the Lagos High Court on Monday January 15, claimed N205 million for damages. The singer had released a broadcast to the public on Sunday in which she made known her plans to take the music and movie distributor to court.
Known fondly as ‘the elegant stallion’, Onwenu spoke at length about why she was fighting against the massive violation of her musical copyright dues and the illegal exploitation of her intellectual property.
In her words, the veteran singer said:
“For years, Iroking profited from the sale of my music, even after a two-year contract it signed with me had elapsed. For years, also, they denied that they were doing so, they denied that they had made any profits from their illegal exploits.When they were caught in the lie, they wanted to settle but refused to show up for meetings. Iroking as a Company is arrogant and has no regard for the people, Artistes whose works and labour have made them successful. We are therefore suing to make a point. Artistes have a right to profit from their Intellectual Property and labour. Nigeria has Copyright Laws which ought to be respected. The music industry has been built up and sustained by artistes and entrepreneurs like me. I demand to be protected by the Laws of my Country. Iroking must pay for this violation.”
Onwenu urged other artistes to be vigilant, and wake up to their rights, especially in the internet era. “It is also my hope that other Artistes will wake up and demand what is due them. Many do not know that their music is being exploited on YouTube and other carriers. Some record companies are selling our music on the internet and claiming ownership of the copyright. If only we would pay attention, Artistes would discover that while they had been doing all the creative work, investing in their careers and in the industry at large, someone else is collecting all the profit. Enough is Enough! Arise Nigerian artistes and take back what belongs to you. You have been cheated for far too long”, she said.