Court Awards Actor Femi Adebayo N25m against streaming channel

A Lagos High Court has awarded N25 million in favor of Nollywood actor and filmmaker Femi Adebayo for the unlicensed use of his movie “Jelili” by a video streaming channel.

The actor revealed this on his official Instagram account on Tuesday, adding that the case was related to the piracy of his film ‘Survival of Jelili’.

Released in December 2019, the film is the story of a young man, Jelili, who struggles to change his social status by changing careers from boxing to modeling. It stars Desmond Eliot, Toyin Abraham and Dele Odule in the lead roles.

The piracy battle started in March 2021, when the actor initiated a legal action at the Federal High Court in Ibadan over the alleged copyright of his two films, ‘Survival of Jelili’ and ‘Kodi Ologbon Aye’, by Murphy Ben International through their YouTube channel ‘Aforefo TV’.

According to the actor, the YouTube channel was guilty of stealing his intellectual property for financial gain.

He said, “They decided to use my movie poster and title to promote a movie on their platform, misleading fans and siphoning off the revenue that was coming to me.”

Piracy is a threat to the Nigerian creative industry, especially Nollywood. Over the past two decades, Nollywood has consistently suffered at the hands of these illegal distributors.

“The Nigerian film industry has witnessed exponential growth over the years, but we have failed to maximize the real dividends from this sector due to daredevil pirates taking advantage where they failed to show up. This is a major reason why investors find it difficult to allocate their money to filmmakers,” he wrote.

This action threatens producers and paid creatives contracted for these projects, leaving them no choice but to count more losses than profits, as they rarely recoup their investments to talk about more profits.

Furthermore, he said: “It took three years, but my faith in the justice system remained steadfast thanks to the dedication of our legal team, Bola Adebowale & Co. Legal Practitioners, seasoned professionals with a wealth of experience in handling such cases. . They presented undeniable evidence, made strong arguments and took the case to trial. Their speed, efficiency and attention to detail played a huge role in the direction of the case. We won and were awarded a total of N25 million”.

Mr. Adebayo also stated that this victory applies across the board as it prioritizes the possibility of things in the near term.

He said: “This is not just my victory as a filmmaker and content producer, but for the entire Nollywood. We must be ready to fight IP theft and piracy at all levels. Every victory brings us closer to protecting and obtaining the true economic value of our works.”