The judgement passed by a Federal High Court in Lagos was in favour of the Nollywood actress, her Dioni Visions production outfit as well as FilmOne distribution.
The plaintiff had said the defendants infringed on their copyright which was assigned to them by the writer Jude Idada.
Justice Ibrahim Buba said the plaintiff failed to adduce sufficient and credible evidence to prove authorship and ownership of the screenplay and/or script of the feature film, Okafor’s Law, cannot be vested with Copyright of the film.
However, owner of Raconteur Productions, Chioma Onyenwe, in a Medium post, said her legal team “provided a copy of Jude’s screenplay and his accompanying Canadian Guild of Writers copyright registration dated January 2015 with an analysis of both screenplays as well as the screenplay purchase agreement between Raconteur Productions and Jude”.
Onyenwe, who said she had gone into distribution talks with FilmOne, but the latter terminated the letter of intent which it had sent Raconteur Productions. Later on, Onyenwe said she heard FilmOne was in talks with Omoni on the said feature film.
“I am of the view that FilmOne felt that Omoni was a more commercially viable producer and shared my screenplay that was in their possession with her,” she said in her post.
Omoni, in her statement following the judgement, said that “the evidence before the Court showed that the Plaintiff’s proposed Movie Production arrangement did not materialize as the said arrangement was in fact cancelled by FilmOne due to the Plaintiff’s inability to comply with the conditions and production deadlines specified by FilmOne.”
While Omoni applauded the judgement and the “court’s commitment to do Justice without fear or favour,” Onyenwe described it as “a grave miscarriage of justice and is indicative of the lack of knowledge and apathy regarding Intellectual property and Entertainment transactions in the Nigerian Judicial system.”
Onyenwe may be appealing to the court’s decision. In concluding her post, she said: “This only reaffirms to me why this case is so important and despite this setback, I will continue to fight until justice is administered.”
By Damilola Faustino