TECNO Mobile has lost a case between itself and popular Kenyan musician Wangechi. The latter accused the budget smartphone maker of using her photo to promote a campaign of their new phone back in July 2016.
According to Wangechi, TECNO used her image in a social media campaign that promoted their new phone at that time, the TECNO Camon C9, without her consent. After failed talks with the smartphone maker, Wangechi sued the company.
“I’m not one to raise my voice online but it reaches a moment where you have to fight for your hard work and what you believe in. In early June Tecno Kenya ran an ad campaign around a new phone and used my image for that campaign,” said Wangechi through a post on her social media platforms.
“They used my image and likeness in the form of an advertisement which came across as an endorsement of the product. They did not seek my approval or consent for it neither did they pay for the use of my image and likeness, yet after 8 weeks of legal conversation, they went silent and deleted all images and videos associated with me. As an artist our image and likeness is our source of livelihood, it is our bread and butter. It is not okay to misuse and take away from us when we work so hard to build ourselves,” she added.
On the defence, TECNO said that they used the image after it was submitted to them through a competition that they had held for photographers. “The Defendant ran the campaign for photographers and received various submissions, PW1’s [Wangechi] image was from Ojok photographer and on his Instagram found PW1’s pictures and he stated he was entitled to the photos. The Defendant is of the view the photographer has copyright,” reads the court documents.
After years in the corridors of justice, the court ruled in favour of Wangechi stating that TECNO had indeed used her photo without consent. “There is no evidence from the 3rd Party [Ojok photographer] that he is the owner of the copyright or he contacted/got consent from the Plaintiff [Wangechi] to use her image. There was no Consent. The Defendants are liable for unlawful use of Plaintiff’s image without her consent,” said the court.
Following this judgement, TECNO Mobile was ordered to pay Wangeci KES. 500,000 as compensation for breaching her constitutional right to privacy. The court also ordered TECNO to pay the legal fees that Wangechi had incurred and any accrued interests.
“4 years ago my constitutional rights to privacy were infringed. Today the courts ruled in my favour and proved I have a right to control how my image & likeness is used publicly. Toast to my legal team @OmuodoA for a guaranteed win. Hope, this sets a precedence for future cases,” wrote Wangechi on her Twitter account as she celebrated the win.