Judicial Body: Zambia, High Court at Lusaka, 1978, Judge Sakala
Facts: Copyright infringement, Innocence of infringement; Injunction for damages
Issue: Defendant played records of copyright music during a public performance. Defendant also performed the song without the permission of the copyright owner. This is an infringement and the song’s composer wants to be compensated for the use of his song.
History: Defendant violated copyright laws by performing and playing records at his disco. Defendant did admit, but did not understand that he had violated any law. Plaintiff filed for an injunction of damages, and any profits earned during the time that his songs were performed and played.
Zambia, High Court at Lusaka ruled that the defendant was not clear about the copyright laws and did not intentionally set out to violate the laws. The court ordered that defendant would be liable for any profits made the night of the disco.
This case provides a reminder that any invasion of a right of property gives cause of action to the owner against the person responsible for the invasion, regardless it was intentional or not.
If an infringement is admitted , but at the time of the infringement the defendant was not aware and had no reasonable grounds for suspecting copyright subsisted in the work , or other subject matter to which the action relates, plaintiff is not entitled to damages , but is entitled to an account of profits.
The judge was very understanding; defendant claims that he was not aware of copyright infringement. I think one needs to consider moral rights, as a business owner, one knows that licenses are usually needed to run a restaurant , disco , and club. A license is needed for the business establishment, a license if needed to serve alcohol, I suppose it slipped his mind in regards to the music he chose to play and perform.