Tanzanian Bongo star, AY bagged a tidy sum of money was in a landmark ruling that could set a precedent in the application of the copyright law in the country.
Back in April last year, a Tanzanian court awarded Bongo flava artistes Ambwene Yessaya, aka AY, and Hamisi Mwinjuma, aka MwanaFA, TSh2.18 billion (KSh96m) in special damages. The huge award was won by the two, who had sued mobile phone company MIC Tanzania (Tigo), for unauthorized use of their music as callback tunes.
Ilala senior resident magistrate Juma Hassan granted the award on April 11 after a four-year court battle between the parties. The award also includes a separate TSh25 million (KSh 1.1 million) in general damages.
The month after the ruling, Tigo went to the High Court to block the execution of the award, pending its appeal. History in the copyright field would be made should the High Court uphold the judgement by the Ilala District Court.
MwanaFA told Tanzanian press, “This is a key moment in copyright in Tanzania. This is something that has been happening for quite a long time now, mainly because of lack of knowledge and maybe because of the costs associated with such cases,” he said.
“Nobody is supposed to use your work without your permission or agreement, and if at all he has benefited then he is supposed to share with you according to the price tag you have set for your work.”
The two songs at the centre of the controversy are Dakika Moja and Usije Mjini, featuring AY, MwanaFA and the late Mangwea.
The rapper who is now based in the stated is reported to have purchased a mansion in Calabasas, California, USA.
This property was acquired two months after Tigo paid them. It is a two storey house spacious with a swimming pool.
“It is true, I have been blessed to own a home in Calabasas. Soon it will be my main abode when I relocate,” he said.
Adding, “Besides this house, I also own another one in Tanzania and I also have four cars.”