Namibia: Choir Sues Young T Over 'Ndapandula'

The Eben-Ezer choir has approached the Windhoek High Court to restrain northern-based artist Tulina Ndafyaalako, popularly known as Young T WokOngha, from reproducing or adapting a song they claim as their original composition.

They are also asking the court to restrain Young T from selling or offering for sale copies of the song 'Ndapandula' to any third parties, pending the finalisation of the civil action.

They are also asking the court to order Young T to pay them N$80 000 with interest at the rate of 20% per year, calculated from the date of judgment until the date of final payment for royalties allegedly received by Young T in respect of the song. According to court documents seen by New Era, Eben-Ezer claims to be the copyright holders of the song in respect of both the underlying sound, beat and/or instrumental composition, as well as the lyrics of the song.

The choir further claims the song was first published in 2012 on an album titled 'Eben-Ezer Volume 2', owned, recorded and distributed by them.

"At all material times, the plaintiff was the proprietor of the aforesaid copyright in the original work, pursuant to a musical composition by the said author and still remains the proprietor to date," Eben-Ezer claims in their papers. According to them, Young T, from and subsequent to 2018, produced and made adaptions of the work as well as purportedly granted licenses to other third parties to perform similar acts. This, they said, infringed the copyright they hold over the work and that Young T at all relevant times knew or bore knowledge that such conduct constituted an infringement.

They further claim that Young T has earned and received royalties for performing rights, mechanical rights and needle time rights in respect of the song for performing the song.

"The damages suffered by the plaintiff constitute the reasonable royalties that would have been payable by a licensee in respect of the work," the choir stated and continued they have no knowledge of the extent of the reasonable royalties Young T has received so far. To determine the amount of a reasonable royalty, they are asking the court to order directing an enquiry to be held in that regard.

According to them, in their view, Young T will not desist from performing the song or indulge in other activities without a court order restraining him.

Young T told New Era that, given he only heard of the lawsuit recently, he is still collecting information and is not willing to talk at the moment, as it is too early to comment.

Eben-Ezer is represented by Niinkoti Enkali from Khadhila Amoomo Legal Practitioners.

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