A Nollyhood producer, Mr. Lateef Onida and his company, Lat-Larry Film Company, have instituted a N25 million suit against Multichoice Nigeria Limited, operators of the Digital Satellites Television (DSTV) before the Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, for allegedly infringement on his right.
In a Statement of Claim filed before the court by a Lagos lawyer, Barr. Olu Vincent Ogunmola, on behalf of the Plaintiffs, it was alleged that sometime in the year 2011, the Plaintiffs engaged and signed a contract with a film marketing company to market his film titled “Aroni Rorogun Matidi”, the film was registered with the Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC) and also submitted it to National Film and Video Censors Board and got their approvals.
The marketer was given the right of releasing the film only at the Idumota market in Lagos, and it was further agreed that the agreement shall not cover the right to exhibit the film at Cinemas, Television, Cable Network, or the selling of the film ‘s Porter by the marketer unless as may be agreed by the producer.
However, it was alleged that, DSTV having had unlawful, illegal and unauthorised access to the plaintiffs’ film, allegedly aired the said film on July 27, 2012 at about 5:00p.m vide their Network Digital Satellite Television with a caption Yoruba African Magic and the airing continued till July 30, 2012 in flagrant breach of the Plaintiff ‘s copyright.
The plaintiffs averred that on becoming aware of this flagrant breach of their copyright of the film, instructed their lawyers to demand for a discontinuance of airing of the film, and also demanded for compensation and damages for the breach complained of, but the defendant ignored the two letters written to them, consequently, the plaintiffs were compelled to write a petition to the Yoruba Video Film Producers/Marketers Association of Nigeria. While the plaintiffs were awaiting a response or reply to the petition, the defendant who had earlier stopped the airing of the film after letters written to them informing it of the infringement , the fefendant cleverly changed the film’s caption to something else, while the entire features and theme remained the same.
However, Multichoice in its statement of defense, denied almost all the claims of Mr Onida and his company, averred that it acquired some Yoruba Soap Opera series titled Ayeloja, Owo ida and Ofin which came in episode formats with 26 episodes each from their lawful owner being Frank Dallas Communications, therefore never had any unlawful, illegal and unauthorized access to the plaintiffs’ said movie titled Aroni rogun Matidi and that there was never a time the defendant aired the said movies as alleged, and it is not in any position to know whether the plaintiffs checked the address of Frank Dallas communications being 102,Ogunlana Drive, Surulere to ascertain its existence or not. The defendant then prays the court to dismiss this suit with substantial cost for being frivolous and an abused of court process.