Kenyan rapper and vocalist Nyamari Ongegu, known by his stage name Nyashinski, is embroiled in a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Nigerian music producer Sam Are Eliapenda Jedidah, alias Sam Eli Are.

The court has ordered Nyashinski to submit contract documents related to his endorsement deal with Tecno Kenya Limited, as part of the ongoing legal battle.

The dispute centres around the hit song "Wach Wach," produced by Sam Eli.

The producer alleges that Nyashinski used the song in his endorsement campaign for Tecno's Camon 20 smartphone without his consent, infringing on his copyright.

He claims entitlement to 50 per cent of the earnings from the endorsement deal due to his ownership of the song's publishing rights.

Nyashinski, however, maintains that he owns 100 per cent of the master rights to the song, while GETA International holds the remaining 50 per cent of publishing rights.

"In response to Para 9 and 10 of the Amended Plaint, the 1st Defendant avers that he is the owner of 100 percent master rights and 50 percent publishing rights to the song Wach Wach is owned by GETA International and not the 1st Defendant," Nyashinski argued in his defence

He argues that his contract with Tecno involved image rights, appearances, and other promotional activities, not publishing the song itself.

Additionally, he claims that GETA International signed a "fair use" agreement with Tecno for the song's inclusion, granting him permission as a co-rights holder.

Justice Selina Muchungi of the Milimani Court sided with Sam Eli's request and ordered Nyashinski to produce the relevant documents.

This includes a copy of the brand ambassadorship agreement between GETA International and Tecno, along with royalty reports from all digital platforms for the other four songs produced by Sam Eli for Nyashinski.

The pre-trial hearing is scheduled for March 12, 2023.

This case highlights the complexities of copyright ownership and the potential legal challenges artists face when collaborating with producers and entering into endorsement deals.

The outcome of this case will be closely watched by the Kenyan music industry, as it could set a precedent for future copyright disputes.