Equity Bank Compelled By Court To Pay Royalties To A Former Student

Equity bank has been compelled to reimburse a student Ksh. 5 million for the unauthorized use of his song in the bank’s renowned “Wings to Fly” campaign. According to Edwin Obiero Nyadida, the plaintiff, he created the song in May 2013 and registered it at the Music Copyright Society together with other songs.

Nyadida told the court that Equity Bank approached him with a proposal to publicise the bank’s education programme after which he composed the song. At the time he was a high school student. In response to the bank’s approval of the song, Nyadida allegedly requested Ksh. 10 million for the work. Instead, the bank offered him a scholarship, but his parents opted for the cash instead.

He claimed that the bank pulled out of the arrangement and that this led to his detention during which he and his brother were both accused of forgery. The bank acknowledged, through Edward Muchai, that he first encountered him in 2013, when he showed up at his office with a CD of music he wanted him to listen to. According to Mr Muchai Nyadida’s song was an excerpt from the “Reunion” song, which is available online, rather than an original composition.

With the matter being brought forward before Justice Wilfrida Okwany, the court ruled in favour of Nyadida after determining that the lender used and has been using the music that he created without his consent and without paying him for it, thus breaching his intellectual property rights. Justice Okwany noted that it was ironic for the bank to treat Nyadida in such a cruel manner who at the time was still a student. The bank through the “Wings to Fly” programme gives bright needy students access to education.

By Lavin Atieno

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