We own right to story that inspired ‘Oloture’ — Premium Times

by Araayo Akande

Frontline digital newspaper, Premium Times, has stated its position on the copyright infringement dispute over ‘Oloture’ between journalist Tobore Ovuorie and Mo Abudu’s EbonyLife Films, affirming that it owns the right.
Ovuorie, author of the report “Investigation: Inside Nigeria’s Ruthless Human Trafficking Mafia” published by Premium Times/ Netherland’s ZAM Chronicles, and from which ‘Oloture’ substantially derives, had accused the producer of plagiarism.
But clarifying the matter in a statement by its Editor-in-Chief, Musikilu Mojeed, Premium Times said Ovuorie does not own the copyright to the story.
He said, “the journalist who is battling EbonyLife was a full-time employee of PREMIUM TIMES. She produced the said content as part of her job while on our staff. Going by Nigeria‘s copyright law, only PREMIUM TIMES and its partner on that reporting project, ZAM CHRONICLES, can lay claim to the copyright for that work. Not any individual reporter or editor who worked on the project as part of their employment obligations at the time.”

Ovuorie had, through her lawyer, Adeola Owoade of the law firm, Maverick & Spectre, demanded a $5 million compensation and asked that an open credit be added to the film while the end credit should be modified to acknowledge her work as the source material for the movie.
She had also demanded “Restriction on any further exploitation of our Client’s published life story by your good self, your company and its related companies or affiliates, in any form, including our Client’s post-investigation struggles and experiences, such as her nervous breakdown episodes, which she shared with you on set, on or about 6 June 2019 during the recording of the special edition of your program titled: ‘Moments With Mo’ at the Ilupeju recording studio of your company.
The production company had, however, responded and warned Ovuorie against spreading falsehood against it.
EbonyLife’s lawyer, Olaniwun Ajayi, refuted Ovuorie’s allegation and described it as unfounded.
He also disclosed that EbonyLife had obtained permission from Premium Times. “Our Client, as you may be aware, approached Premium Times Services Limited – the lawful owners of the copyright in the Publication, to commend its journalistic efforts and to obtain necessary authorisation in connection to the Publication, before the release of the Project. Notwithstanding the foregoing, and as you pointed out in your letter, our Client gratuitously reached out to your Client via a letter dated 30.05.19, in recognition of the common goal of eradicating human trafficking in Nigeria.”

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