18 March 2019

Tanzania: Tigo to Cough Up 100m/ - for Breaching Copyright

MIC Tanzania Limited, trading as Tigo, is to pay 100m/- to Kijitonyama Lutheran Church Choir for infringing a copyright of a song called 'Hakuna Mungu kama wewe'.

This follows the decision by the Court of Appeal to dismiss the application by the mobile service providing company, seeking to fault the findings of the High Court's Commercial Division on the matter.

Justices Kipenka Mussa, Rehema Mkuye and Ferdinand Wambali ruled in favour of the choir, the respondent, having rejected all the grounds presented by Tigo, which was the applicant in the dispute.

"We are settled in our mind that the applicant has not sufficiently demonstrated that special circumstances exist to enable us to apply the powers of revision and quash proceedings of the High Court," they ruled.

In the application, the applicant had requested the appeals court to invoke the provision of Section 4 (3) of the Appellants Jurisdiction Act and Rule 65 of the Tanzania Court of Appeal Rules to call for and examine the records of proceedings, ruling and order of the High Court and quash them.

The specific decision of the High Court sought to be challenged was given on April 17, 2015, refusing to grant the applicant extension of time within which to lodge a notice of appeal and the appeal to contest an ex-parte judgment and decree delivered by Ilala District Court.

In the application before the Court of Appeal, the applicant complained that the High Court judge failed to consider what was stated in the application before her and the affidavit when she reached the decision to dismiss the same.

The applicant bitterly complained further that the judge did not appreciate the fact that the newly instructed advocates assigned to handle the dispute after the trial court could not have advised her properly on the way forward without having been supplied with proceedings and ex-parte judgment.

In their ruling, however, the justices of the appeals court asked themselves whether by dismissing the application for extension of time the High Court judge failed to appreciate the reasons for delay which were placed before her by the applicant.

"We think, with respect, that the answer is emphatically No. In the circumstances, we have no hesitation to conclude that this ground has no basis as no sufficient reasons were demonstrated by the applicant.

We dismiss it," they declared. The applicant had further blamed the High Court judge to have failed to appreciate the established principle of law that illegalities and irregularities is sufficient reason for extension of time.

The justices ruled on such complaint that such argument could not apply in their circumstances of the matter.

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