Lonestar Cell In U$5m Copyright Lawsuit


One of Liberia’s two GSM companies, Lonestar Cell MTN, has been sued at the Civil Law Court for allegedly stealing the copyright image or intellectual property of two local musicians valued about U$5.5 million.

Mr. Peter Jomah, publisher and Mrs. Denise M. K. Jomah, artiste, jointly filed an “action of damages for wrong” for copyright infringement against the company.

The plaintiff averred that their musical album, “AH-DAYA” which they produced in 2014 was manipulated by Lonestar Cell MTN’s agent, Sweet Sound Production, Inc.

The defendant are alleged to put plaintiff’s intellectual property on without an agreement between with subscribers using songs on the album as background/caller tones or ring back songs on the company’s mobile network.

The Plaintiffs argued that to legally manipulate, perform, reproduce and deliver any sound recording embodying any copyrighted musical composition via any means, the defendants needed to have obtained a license issued either by the artist or by statutory compulsory license provision of Liberia Intellectual Property Act.

The Plaintiffs said that aside from the willful economic rights infringement of their album by the defendants provided for in section 9.8 of the Liberia Intellectual Property Act, defendants violated the artist’s rights to be named as owners of the album.

“The defendants jointly desecrated, debased and distorted the work of the plaintiffs. That is, the songs were not intended to be placed on Lonestar Cell computer to be marketed and publicly performed globally; they were intended to be sacred and used for the spiritual upliftment of the individual souls,” the artists claimed.

Additionally, they said “the defendants, without any color of right, denied and ruined the reputation of the plaintiffs by placing, converting, creating temporary and permanent replication, creating derivative and public performance without any indications of the parenthood of the work as though the work was not protected or owned by the publisher and the artists.”

Plaintiffs claimed, they had firstly opted for the matter to be settled in an amicable fashion without lawsuit but the defendants were not forthcoming.

Writes P. Nas Mulbah