Court orders singer Nyamari Nyashinski to produce royalty reports in a dispute with Nigerian producer


Kenyan rapper and singer Nyashinski performing at an event on October 28, 2023. PHOTO | BONFACE BOGITA | NMG

A Milimani Court has ordered rapper and vocalist Nyamari ‘Nyashinski’ Ongegu to furnish it with contract documents detailing a deal he signed with Tecno Kenya Limited, in a Copyright case against him filed by a Nigerian music producer.

The producer, Sam Are Eliapenda Jedidah alias Sam Eli Are, moved to court last year suing Nyashinski over copyright infringement by signing an endorsement deal with the Chinese-based global smartphone company.

In court documents, Sam Eli accused Nyashinski of using the hit song Wach Wach which he produced, to promote and endorse Tecno device Camon 20 released into the Kenyan market last year.

Sam Eli argued that as the producer of the Wach Wach song used in the Tecno commercials by Nyashinski, he is entitled to 50 percent of the fortune made from the endorsement deal but his effort to contact the rapper for his fair share has remained futile.

Nyashinski bagged the multimillion-shilling deal with Tecno in May 2023, when he was appointed the brand ambassador of the Tecno Camon 20.

The Nigerian says he immediately contacted Nyashinski inquiring how his composition was published without his knowledge.

But the rapper argued that he did not know that he needed to inform him of the use of the song by Tecno because as far as he was concerned, he owns 100 percent of the master rights.

In his defense statement, Nyashinski argued that the suit against him was in bad taste as it was instituted against non-parties urging the court to dismiss it with costs.

“In response to Para 9 and 10 of the Amended Plaint, the 1st Defendant avers that he is the owner of 100 percent master rights and 50 percent publishing rights to the song Wach Wach is owned by GETA International and not the 1st Defendant. The plaintiff owns 50% publishing rights to the song Wach Wach. GETA International Company Limited is not a party to this suit,” Nyashinski states in his defence.

The musician stated that his contract with Tecno wasn’t a publishing deal as the Nigerian music producer claimed but rather one which included image rights, appearance, interviews, photo/video shoots, travel time and social media associations.

In addition, Nyashinski argued that GETA International signed a fair use agreement with the 2nd defendant for the use of the song Wach Wach which he had every right to as a 100 percent master rights owner and 50 percent publishing right owner, this is in addition to the fact that Nyashinski appears on the advert(s).

“The 1st Defendant avers that the plaintiff is however misguided in both law and fact about what entitlements he possesses on account of 50 percent share of publishing rights to a song,” Nyashinski argues in his defence.

Setting the date for the pre-trial hearing for March 12, 2023, Honorable Justice Selina Muchungi agreed with Sam Eli’s prayers directing Nyashinski to furnish the court with copies of the brand ambassadorship agreement signed between Geta International Limited and Tecno for the Camon 20 device campaign.

In addition, Nyashinski is to serve the court with copies of all the royalties reports from all the digital platforms from the date of release for the other four songs Sam Eli produced for him, which he also claims to not have received any royalties payments from the singer. 

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