Onyeka Onwenu, a Nigerian music legend and Nollywood veteran, has announced her plans to sue IROKING, a music and Nollywood film distributor over violation of her copyrights.
In an e-mailed statement to The Trent on Sunday, January 14, 2017, Ms. Onwenu accused the entertainment distribution giant of infringing on her copyright years after a two-year contract between them had expired.
“By tomorrow, January 15, 2018, I will, at the Lagos High Court, Ikoyi, commence a landmark suit against IROKING, the music and Nollywood movie distributor, for the massive violation of my musical copyright dues and the illegal exploitation of my intellectual property,” Onwenu said in the statement.
“For years, Iroking profited from the sale of my music, even after a two year contract it signed with me had elapsed. For years, also, they denied that they were doing so, they denied that they had made any profits from their illegal exploits.
“When they were caught in the lie, they wanted to settle but refused to show up for meetings.
“Iroking as a company is arrogant and has no regard for the people, Artistes whose works and labor have made them successful.
“We are therefore sueing to make a point. Artistes have a right to profit from their intellectual property and labor.
“Nigeria has copyright laws which ought to be respected. The music industry has been built up and sustained by artistes and entrepreneurs like me. I demand to be protested by the laws of my country. Iroking must pay for this violation.
“It is also my hope that other artistes will wake up and demand for what is due them.
“Many do not know that their music is being exploited on YouTube and other carriers.
“Some record companies are selling our music on the internet and claiming ownership of the copyright.
“If only we would pay attention, artistes would discover that while they had been doing all the creative work, investing in their careers and in the Industry at large, someone else is collecting all the profit.
“Enough is Enough!
“Arise Nigerian artistes and take back what belongs to you. You have been cheated for far too long,” the statement ended.