In June 2016, Kirya dragged MTN to the commercial court demanding for Ug Shs 500 million for copyright infringement, after he realized that the telecom company had been offering some of his songs to its subscribers as call back tunes at a fee, without his consent.
The case was heard by Justice David. K. Wangutusi of the Commercial Court on Thursday the 27th of April 2017 and he later advised MTN to negotiate a settlement with Maurice Kirya outside court although since then we have not heard of any new developments which is a topic for another day.
Well, as Maurice Kirya spoke to NTV’s Douglas Lwanga on the daily TV show dubbed The Beat where he was hosted for the video premiere of his latest tune ‘Isane’, Douglas did not hesitate to ask him for an update on how the court hearing went down.
“I have set a precedence for other artistes so that they don’t fear anyone who uses their work illegally but sue. This is a historical case because it will be used as reference in future.” Kirya said.
Indeed this comes like an eye opener to other companies dealing in call ring back tunes (CRBT) to always seek consent from the artistes before using their songs. Maurice strongly condemned MTN’s action because he had worked tooth and nail to write, produce and release these songs which telecommunication giant used without his knowledge.
Some of the songs Maurice alleged that the company was selling to its subscribers were, ‘Misubbawa’ which was coded as 5022233, ‘Mulembe Gwa Kirya’ coded 5023730, ‘Die For You’ coded 5023481 and ‘Don’t Cry’ coded 5023482.