The legal tussle between King Sunny Ade and Record Manufacturing Company of Nigeria, ‘African Songs’, and its subsidiary, ‘Take Your Choice Stores’, which started 40 years ago, finally came to an end on Thursday, as the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, ordered the two companies to pay the musician the sum of N500 million, as damages, for infringing on his musical works, and additional cost of N3 million for prosecuting the suit.
The juju maestro had a contract dispute with the two companies in 1975, culminating into yesterday’s judgment delivered by Justice Dosunmu.
The court ordered the companies to return the master tapes of the original musical works produced under the label of the two companies by Sunny Ade and his Green Spot Band to him.
But before the master tape could be returned, chairman and CEO of the company, Chief Bolarinwa Abioro died.
Consequently, in a bid to retrieve the master Tapes, Sunny Ade in 1997, again instituted a suit against the two companies before a Lagos Federal High Court.
Joined as co-defendants were Lati Alagbada, Record Manufacturing Company of Nigeria Limited, Ibukunola Printers, Alhaja Awawu Ade Amodu, and M.O. Alagbada, whom the musician alleged to have been using the master tapes to produce inferior qualities of his musical works, and sell same to members of the public, thereby depriving him of his means of livelihood.
Sunny Ade contended that he was the author, composer, and producer of all the musical works numbering about 22.
Sunny Ade, in a statement of claim filed before the court by his lawyer, Chief Felix Fagbohungbe, SAN, demanded for damages in the sum of N1 bsillion jointly and severally.
The musician also sought an order of the court ordering the two companies to return to him his master tapes as well as restraining the defendants from infringing on his musical works.
The presiding judge, Justice James Tsoho while delivering judgment in the suit, dismissed the respondents’ counter claim for lack of merit, while ordering that the sum of N500 million be paid to Sunny Ade and his band.
Justice Tsoho also ordered that the master tapes be returned to Sunny Ade, since it has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that he is the owner of the copyright.
Based on the application made by Sunny Ade’s lawyer, Yomi Adeniran from the law firm of Felix Fagbohungbe, SAN, asking for a sum of N5 million as cost of prosecuting this case as Sunny Ade had always come to court whenever the case came up, Justice Tsoho awarded N3 million cost against the two companies.


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