The management of LoneStar Cell MTN has been dragged to court for alleged theft of Intellectual Property by CT COM, the management company of PCK and L-Frankie.
PCK and L-Frankie are among the top performing Liberian artists, who are best credited for the song “I will kill your dog”, which is also referred to as “I here”.
LoneStar Cell MTN, which is one of the leading GSM companies in the country, is also being sued for the illegal use of the images of the two musicians.
The case is being filed before the Civil Law Court, which is being presided over by Judge Yusuf D. Kaka. The Civil Law Court is located at the Temple of Justice on Capitol Hill in Monrovia. CT COM is being represented by the Sherman and Sherman Law Firm, while LoneStar Cell MTN is being represented by a team of it corporate lawyers.
In the writ, a copy which is in the possession of this paper, the plaintiff claimed that the company (LoneStar MTN) willfully and knowingly violated the intellectual property act of 2016, specifically section 9.1 and section 9.26(b) and section 9.29, by the illegal and unauthorized use of the plaintiffs’ song as ring-back tune on their platform and portraits for poster and flyers.
This, the plaintiffs claimed, deprived them (CT COM and the artist) of the needed income and equitable remuneration that should have been realized from the Defendant.
CT COM and the artists are claiming US$3.15M in special damages and general damages to be determined by the court upon adjudication of the matter.
“Plaintiffs say that since December 5, 2016, up to and including the time of the filing of this action of damages for wrong for the unauthorized use of its song by the defendant, there was absolutely no agreement reached between the defendant herein and the plaintiffs, although there was an understanding for the use of the plaintiff’s song; Kill Your Dog also known as I here. Notwithstanding, this, the defendant herein proceeded to place the plaintiff song on their platform as a ring-back tune for the use of their customers throughout the country and abroad without seeking the consent and approval of the plaintiff or consideration thereof as required by law,” said the writ.
“Plaintiffs submit that it is an undisputed fact that the defendant has the largest customer base among the GSM companies up to one million. That notwithstanding, plaintiff requested defendant to make minimum compensation of at least US$.10 per 500,000 customers, but regrettably the defendant ignored, neglected and refused the plaintiffs’ proposal to pay this equitable consideration of any kind. To which averment plaintiffs say they will produce credible witnesses to testify during trial in substantiation thereof,” the writ among other things added.
Also addressing a news conference on Thursday, December 13, 2018 in Paynesville, outside Monrovia, the head of CT COM, Mr. Christopher Hayes Onanuga, vowed to follow this matter to a logical conclusion.
According to Mr. Onanuga, CT COM is “No rubber that can be dissolved by an acid,” stressing that his company will pursue all legal means to ensure that his clients get the benefit of their talents.
“Absolutely, there was no image agreement between us and LoneStar Cell MTN. This act is completely criminal in nature,” he averred.
When contacted, the Management of LoneStar Cell through its legal and communications offices declined to comment on ground that the matter is already in court.