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HiTV MD in court for alleged contempt

By Innocent Anaba
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Entertainment Highway Limited, HITV, Mr Toyin Subair, is to appear before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos today, over an alleged disobedience to court order.

Trial judge in the matter is Justice Okechukwiu Okeke. Subair,  had failed to appear before  the same court on June 7, 2010 to answer charges of preventing  court bailiffs from executing  an order of court issued on March 15,  in a suit against HITV by Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria, MCSN.

MCSN is claiming over N1.2 billion from HiTV in the suit, for  alleged copyright infringement of some Nigerian and foreign musical works.

Some of the works include that of King Sunny Ade, Charly Boy, Tuface, Faze, Fatai Rolling Dollar, Lagbaja, Adewale Ayuba, Tunde and Wunmi Obe, Weird MC among others.

The court had granted an ex-parte order, permitting the MCSN to inspect the office of HiTV to search and take possession of any infringing copies, plates of musical and audio-visual recordings, equipment, machines and appliances used for the infringement, pending the determination of the suit.

The court had also restrained HiTV  from continuing with the infringement of the works which copyright is vested in the plaintiff (MCSN), pending the determination of the matter.

The court had also directed the defendant to deliver and surrender to the plaintiff’s lawyer, accompanied by the courts’ bailiff, all infringing copies as well as other materials which constitute evidence of the infringement.

But, according to the bailiffs, in the process of executing the court orders, the HiTV officials maltreated them and ordered its workers not to obey the court order.

The bailiffs further averred  that they were almost lynched if not for divine providence. Consequently, Justice Okeke ordered the HiTV MD, the company secretary and four other officials of the company to appear before the court to show cause why they should not be committed to prison for disobeying the orders of the court.

Subair had failed to appear before the court despite the fact that he was summoned on two occasions and it took the intervention of a counsel, who pleaded passionately with the court, if not, the HiTV officials including the company secretary, who was heavily pregnant, who were in court, would have been remanded in prison custody, when the matter last came up.

HiTV, in a statement of defence, is contending  that it had not at any point in time, infringed on the copyright of any work belonging to the plaintiff.


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