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The Yemi Alade vs. Lebara Mobile Controversy – Here’s what’s Really Going On!



Yemi Alade

A photo posted on Instagram by a really huge fan of music star Yemi Alade has been causing some controversy today.

The photo shows Yemi Alade on a flyer for UK Telecommunications Company, Lebara Mobile. The photo used is one we’ve all seen a number of times on the internet.

The flyer reads ‘All your favourite West African English Channels. Watch TV and movies anytime, anywhere’.

According to several news outlets Yemi Alade plans to sue the company for copyright infringement because her photo was used ‘illegally’. The news was broken exclusively by F78 (watch here).

Here are two possibilities of what is actually going on and why Yemi Alade might not need to sue afterall:

  1. Some big stars actually have ‘rights-free’ photos. This means that some photos are not owned by the people in the photo itself but by other people they have signed the rights over to e.g. the photographer who took the photo, Instagram where the photo was posted, an event attended where they posed for a photo on the red carpet, etc.
  2. Lebara Play was launched a while ago and the idea behind it is very similar to one you are probably more familiar with – DSTV. Basically, Lebara Play is a large content providing platform and offers everything from music videos to movies. This means that they have over 150 TV channels – any of which could be providing content that has to do with Yemi Alade (from songs to interviews), and the content has already been legally obtained. A typical example of this is why DSTV is advertising a movie and uses a scene with Brad Pitt in their TVC or a photo of footballers in action on their posters. They can do this because they have the legally obtained content on their platform.

Here is another of Lebara Play’s ads with Indian actors:

Lebara Play

Here are some of DSTV’s similar ads:

DSTV-resized-300x404 dstv-flate-mexy

Do let us know your thoughts on the controversy and if you feel Yemi Alade should proceed with legal action.

Adesola is the BellaNaija Head of Content and Digital Ventures. She is a BN stan.. Yes, things are that serious for her when it comes to She's a lover of gist, novels, music, and food. She's constantly trying not to take life for granted. She spends most of her time either keeping up with the world on the Internet or sharing some acquired knowledge about digital media. She is passionate about using her voice to speak against injustice, especially towards women. To communicate with her directly, you can hit her up on: Instagram - Twitter - @Adesola_AU


  1. Okechukwu Ofili

    October 12, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    See how Lebara Mobile is chopping free advert … lol

    • Music lovers

      October 12, 2015 at 1:58 pm

      You are here cool!!!

    • mz Titilitious

      October 12, 2015 at 1:59 pm

      abi o 😀

    • Na We We

      October 12, 2015 at 10:34 pm

      Reccos how far?

  2. Nne

    October 12, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    @ofili : I deh greet o. ?

  3. ti

    October 12, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Paid content or not,she still has a full fledged right to her as an entity.All she needs is a good lawyer to argue her case,tell me don’t celebrities sue media houses for indiscriminate use of their pictures, so far its being used for commercial purposes. If u need my services I’m available, I could do *pro bono*.

  4. aikay

    October 12, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    To me I think it is good for her oh, it will give her good publicity abroad. Yemi is really trending and this is surely her year of reign. Tiwa abeg rise up ohhhhhh yemi done use style collect your market finish….

  5. Fifi

    October 12, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    Have seen mo abudu’s on a Lebara flyer in Berlin

  6. Lala

    October 12, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    If Lebara did not have the pay TV, they could have been liable here in the UK. However, if someone snaps a photo- like a pro photographer, the right to that photo belongs to the one who took the photos- even if they are your wedding photos.
    So, always ask for a full transfer of all rights for professional and other photos.
    On the other hand, see Linda Ikeji daily taking exclusive photos from the dailymail online. I hope her lawyers let her know the consequences – Nigeria is a part of the common wealth. She has absolute disregard for copyright. I saw a story this morning on the dailymail site, then saw it on the Kenyan paper had no right to the image, so they just used a computer screen (the story was about online dating), but Linda copied it hook, line n sinker, like she owns it. I notice that Bellanaija and Stelladimoko (who is outside Nigeria and obviously knows the consequences) avoid such.
    A copyright law suit from the new York Times brought Perez Hilton to his knees- and he had to start again, though he’s a millionaire again.
    Anyone can get arrested or be sued- whether you are in Nigeria or not. There are extradition treatises and the world is a global village. For example- Business day Nigeria is 40% owned by the financial times and I have seen bloggers like Linda copy their exclusive content. They can easily bring a law suit- if they discover your networth- and they don’t play fair.

    Photos on social media can be used as well as photos from the creative commons section of Wikipedia. Not all photos on social media are free, as well as Wikipedia.

    If you find a photo in Wikipedia, click on it to see if it’s free to use. A word of caution- just because a photo is free does not mean you can use it for an advert- that could indicate that the celebrity is endorsing the product.
    My business is media- so I constantly have to deal with this. The consequences of a lawsuit are not necessary. I read of a blogger who recently got sued and had to pay up- even after taking down the photo.

    Now- I take photos all the time for my print and online magazine content. I snap all my make up kits, my food, etc. I will go into town with my phone this week to snap road signs, traffic lights, buildings, hospitals, gatherings, etc.
    A word is enough for the wise. It’s long, but, I hope I helped somebody.

    • Anna

      October 12, 2015 at 4:25 pm

      Thank you for the insight.

    • NaijaLikita

      October 14, 2015 at 2:33 am

      If a photographer takes photos at a wedding, the pictures do not belong to him/her. Rather, they belong to whomever paid to have those pictures taken. That’s why there is a contract giving the payer the rights to the pictures that were taken. If said photographer sells your wedding photos without your permission, you can sue. In fact, for a photog to use your picture at his/studio, you must give permission. The scenario is different if you took the picture at a studio, even though you paid. Also, Yemi Alade may have a shot depending on where the picture was taken from. Paying for content does not give you blind rights to every image of a person, especially for commercial use. HBO has paid for a show and can use images from the show or call the actors to take pictures to promote the show. However, it cannot say because this actor is on its program, it has the right to use any image it finds of the actor. Nigerian copyright law may not be pursued aggressively, but I have two cases that were won because companies used images without permission. Commonwealth or not, if countries don’t have copyright and piracy agreements, there’s nothing they can do. International law recognizes the autonomy of every nation. Some media outfits also understand that most blogs are cut and paste sites and appreciate the traffic. So all one has to do sometimes is give credit to the source. Otherwise, news and wire services like AP and Reuters would be going to court everyday. Sorry for the length. This is an area of law I love and it’s full of twists because, like you said, it’s a global village where everyone is still doing their own thing.

  7. Lala

    October 12, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    Bellanaija, biko post my comments- it takes effort typing all that on a mobile.

  8. concerned9ja

    October 12, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    Hope she can get something for her image rights infringements…Lebara can afford it after all their tariffs are now so sky more discounts…

  9. DU

    October 12, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Thanks BN. Good to see some ‘useful’ information that can actually leave us more informed online. Not everytime gist and opinions that don’t edify from every blog/website..

  10. BB

    October 12, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    well said Lala ….however @bellanaija is right , Lebra have Yemi’s content and can advertise that using her image …its “almost” like saying she will sue iTunes for displaying her album cover.

    • Lala

      October 12, 2015 at 5:40 pm

      Yes BB, that’s what I said. Lebara would only have been liable if they did not have the PayTv. They have her content, so they can use any photos in those content to promote the PayTv content. I don’t believe they will be allowed to use it for Lebara mobile though. Amazon prime can use former top gear presenter’s – Jeremy Clarkson’s photos to promote top Amazon Prime, but I don’t think they can use it to promote say- kindle adverts. That has to be agreed upon exclusively- or woven into the main contract.

      I think Lebara bought these Nigerian content from Iroko Partners- they have the rights to re-distribute the content they buy from Nigerians.
      I believe Iroko have sold rights to Amazon, Lebara, Hollywood TV, all in the UK and more.
      TV money is now in distribution, not production. The smartest person seems to be AY- live content n sindication. The future will be for that person who will create African content (and self distribute), for a non-black audience in Europe and America- the market is massive. Our commedians need to begin looking at non-Nigerian audiences as well.

      I heard Trevor Noah’s jokes this year I think- when he opened for Scottish stand up- John Bishop. Everyone could relate- Africans, British, Indians, Etc. Please watch on YouTube and you might agree.
      Back to my work- that’s where the money is!!!

    • Lala

      October 12, 2015 at 5:42 pm

      All mistakes duely observed- I no fit abeg!

  11. obinna edifa

    October 12, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    I can see how some of you here don’t know what your saying at all, basically you have no clue.

    This is intellectual property. Yemi Alade’s content is not on Lebara. Would they dare use Beyonce”s image/picture for advertising without permission or proper agreements in place…they have seen African artist as weak targets and use the term promoting the artist as an excuse. Well I hope Yemi Alade and her management have good lawyers to sue their asses so that next at least the have the courtesy to at least ask. Lebara should of done the right thing and asked,

    • Dayo

      October 13, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      @ obinna, than you abeg! I’m not sure where the BN writer got her law degree from, but you cannot appropriate another person’s likeness for COMMERCIAL purposes without his/her permission (apart from very limited ‘fair use’).

  12. Iris

    October 12, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    LOL BN have you guys sent Yemi Alade a message to gently inform her of this?

  13. Marc Francis of Chelsea

    October 12, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    I think she would have a claim if she gave consent to use the photos only for what they were intended as at when they were shot. Also if they were making a profit off her image without her permission like in the Rihanna v Topshop case. This one is tricky because it’s for a TV station.

  14. mabel

    October 12, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    sexy and stunning…

  15. Anna

    October 14, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    I posted this on Instagram. I feel I got myself into trouble. I love Yemi that’s all


    October 15, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    Who noticed silverbird televisions Logo there??

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