High Court of Banjul presided over by Justice B. Jawo has sentenced two debtors
to Mile II for Copyright Infringement.
The plagiarists, Mustapha Ceesay and Ibrahim Ceesay were ordered by Justice B. Jawo to serve a period of six weeks imprisonment during his judgment delivered on 18th of May, 2018 at the High Court.
It could be recalled that in 2015, The Gambia High Court had ruled that the two had plagiarised the books of historian Patience Sonko Godwin to compile their pamphlet titled Mastering National History With Ease which they were selling to schools.
Ms Godwin whose work was plagiarized, used power invested in her as a writer in The Gambia Copyright Act 2004 to take a civil case against both Mustapha Ceesay and Ibrahim Ceesay which the High Court ruled in her favour and awarded her damages of D5 Million and Fifty Thousand Dalasis, plus the statutory interest of 4 per cent.
Since the Court ruling in 2015, no effort was made by her plagiarists to pay up the money which has prompted Ms Godwin to go back to the court to see that justice is done.
Justice Jawo, in his ruling, also stated that “this warrant is issued subject to be renewed for default after the expiration of the six weeks until judgment sum and interest is liquidated.”
However, official of the Copyright office under the National Center for Arts and Culture has described both the 2015 judgment and the latter as a ‘ground breaking’ being the first time that people who stole the intellectual property of other Gambians were punished as enshrined in the Copyright Act 2004.
The official added that Gambian artists, writers and all creators must refrain from stealing others’ creations if they do not want to fall foul of the Copyright Act.
The official stated further “the author of the original work, Ms Godwin, has made history by standing for her rights to be respected as a writer and creator. She has spent lot of money to see that justice is done and history will remember her for this.”
The official went further that the copyright law is here to protect all creators such as writers, singers, composers, architects, journalists, dramatists, fashion etc. So, “other artists must be on the alert and defend their works from unauthorised use while creators should get familiar with the copyright law to avoid being in trouble.”