Court sends 2 copyright offenders to prison

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A high court judge has recently sent Mustapha Ceesay and Ibrahim Ceesay, both teachers at Kinderdorf Bottrop Senior Secondary School, to six weeks imprisonment for defaulting in payment of a five-million dalasis suit by Patience Sonko Godwin, a historian.

Patience filed a law suit against the duo a few years ago and after a long legal battle, a court found the two teachers guilty and ordered them to pay five million and fifty thousand dalasis.
“The judgment debtors were being cross-examined and from their own evidence before this court it is clear that they are not willing to pay towards the settlement of the judgment sum,” Justice B Jawo said.
The marathon case began in 2014 when the historian crossed swords with Mac Collier, teacher at Nusrat Senior Secondary School, Lawrence B Jah, teacher at SOS High School and Michael Goba of Gambia Senior Secondary School and nine others over the same copyright issue.

In her ruling against the first offenders in 2016, Justice Sillah-Camara ordered that a “perpetual injunction is granted to the plaintiff restraining the defendants either by themselves, their servants, agent, privies however, from printing, publishing, circulating, distributing, selling the pamphlets/books History of The Gambia Made Simple, Mastering Gambia History with Ease and Topic in Gambia History with model questions and Answers…”

However, the two Ceesay brothers had initially denied ever copying Patience’s work but after a long legal tussle, they too were found to have infringed the historian’s intellectual property resulting in a fine which they failed to pay.

Justice Jawo added: “All of them are engaged in employment and have not made effort, if not to pay in full but part of the judgment sum. I think it is appropriate that they be committed for their default in payment of the judgment in this case.”
This is the first successful enforcement of copy right law since its enactment a few years ago.