Internet sensation, Aaron Asiba Matendechere, has moved to court, seeking compensation from three corporate bodies for misuse of intellectual property.
Matendechere rose to fame this year after a clip of him and a neighbour circulated on social media. In the clip, the neighbour, Musyoka, was being interviewed by the media.
Matendechere, who was passing by, warned Musyoka against divulging details of illegal electricity connection in the area, telling him instead to ask the government for a job. He finished by telling Musyoka “Nitakufinya” (I will squeeze you) as he walked away.
The hilarious clip from 10 years ago surfaced online, and many people have since adopted the “nitakufinya” phrase. However, three corporate bodies have gone an extra mile to use Matendechere’s image along with the line in their adverts.
Through his lawyer, Tom Ojienda, Matendechere has filed a suit at the high court, seeking compensation from the three bodies: a local bank, a State corporation dealing in cereals and an iron sheets manufacturer.
“Void of consent from the applicant to enable the respondent to act in such contemptuous manner amounts to an invasion of his privacy through misappropriation of his identity or likeness or persona,” read part of his court statement.
The lawyer argues that the marketing strategies of the three bodies created a false impression for the users.
Matendechere says his friends and family believed he had become rich from the gains of the adverts, when in actuality, he had not received a cent.
“The said actions have subjected me to psychological torture because the society, peers, associates, family, business partners and affiliates now perceive me to have gained financially.”
He added that the clip had made him a celebrity, something he enjoys, but the corporations had not sought any authority before running with sensational character and slogan.
“An image or likeness and persona can only be inherent to one person. Unless this honourable court grants the application as herein prayed, the petitioner will continue to suffer the complained violation in a manner that cannot be compensated by way of damages,” adds Matendechere, defending his claim.
Corporate bodies have become more vigilant with access and usage of intellectual property with the high uptake of digital content.