The Commercial High Court of Colombo this week refused to extend an enjoining order granted to the wife and daughter of late singer Clarence Wijewardene, restricting another popular singer Annesley Malawana from singing or performing any songs composed and sung by Clarence.
Plaintiffs Sheela Wijewardene and Amila Priyadarshani Wijewardene claimed that defendant, Annesley Malawana had on several occasions, after the death of Clarence Wijewardene, performed on stage, singing songs and lyrics composed by Clarence, without obtaining their permission.
The order by Commercial High Court Judge Mahinda Samayawardhena lifting the interim ban, will enable Mr. Malawana to continue singing some of the popular Sinhala songs of the 1970's, such as Mango Nenda, Kalu Menike, Rosa Male and Kiyanna Sulange.
The Court held that some of the rights for lyrics, and music composition had been transferred by Clarence Wijewardene himself to a third party during his lifetime, and have been wrongfully itemised by the plaintiffs, claiming exclusive rights. Among them were popular songs such as Muhudu Rella Osse, Ruwan Puraya, Mango Nanda, Rosa Male, Goyan Kapanawa, Sudu Menike and Ramya.
The Court held that there has been a delay of over 13 years since the late Clarence Wijewardene's death in 1996, for the action to be brought against Mr. Malawana, and that, Mrs. Wijewardene herself had been chief guest and guest of honour on at least two concerts organised by Mr. Malawana in 2003 and 2004, where the defendant had sung some of the songs written or composed by the late Clarence Wijewardene.
The Court said that it could not issue an interim injunction at this stage, but a final determination of the matter could be accomplished without delay, with the assistance of Counsel for both parties.
Earlier, the Court issued an enjoining order preventing Mr Malawana from singing songs of the late Clarence Wijewardene in public performances here and abroad.
Kushan D'Alwis with Hiran Jayasuriya, instructed by H.G.M. Harankahawa, appeared for the plaintiffs.
Dinal Phillips, PC, with Nishantha Sirimanne, instructed by Neelanthi Peiris, appeared for the defendant.