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Plagiarism suspect freed for lack of sufficient evidence

A young man who was dragged to court over plagiarism Monday left a Siaya court smiling after the local senior resident magistrate freed him for lack of sufficient evidence.

28 year old Kelvin Waodo, who had pleaded guilty to the charge, could not believe his ears when the magistrate, Tom Olando declared that the charge was defective as the complainants were not the authors or composers of the material that was allegedly being plagiarized.

Waodo, who runs a cyber cafe in Siaya town, was arrested by Music Copyright Society officials who accused him of abusing the copyright law.

According to the prosecution, the accused was found downloading and transferring music belonging to several artists to his customers at a fee without the consent of the artists.

On the material day, the court was told, Waodo was found transferring musical content belonging to a Nairobi based musician known as Naiboi.

The prosecutor, Sylvans Oduor told the court that the accused was using other people’s skills to mint money without their knowledge and consent.

Oduor produced before the magistrate an inventory letter, a laptop computer, flash disk and USB cable that were confiscated from the accused and which he said the accused was using to transfer the music illegally.

However in his ruling, the magistrate, Mr. Olando ordered that he be released and his gadgets be released to him.

Olando said for a charge of plagiarism to hold, the complainant can only be the original owner of the plagiarised music or literature who feels that his or her material was being used or circulated without authority.

“Therefore, the charges cannot stand” he said ordering that all the confiscated items and the cash bail the accused had deposited be returned.

By Clintone Ambujo/Philip Onyango

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