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Court Orders Seizure of “Okafor’s Law” following Copyright Infringement Suit Against Omoni Oboli

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Omoni Oboli

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has issued an Anton Piller order directing the seizure of “Okafor’s Law” produced by Omoni Oboli.

An Anton Piller order is one which requires the defendant in proceedings to permit the plaintiff or his or her legal representatives to enter the defendant’s premises in order to obtain evidence essential to the plaintiff’s case.

The judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba also issued an interim order, suspending the release and launch of the film in any movie theatre or cinema house on March 31, pending the determination of a motion on notice before the court.

The judge ordered the seizure of all copies, materials, projections or infringing materials, relating to the subject matter.

The orders followed an ex parte application filed by a company, Rancoteur Productions Ltd, on behalf of a Canada-based scriptwriter, Jude Idada.

Idada lays claim to the film “Okafor’s Law” as his intellectual property.

The plaintiff had filed the suit through Anthony Idigbe (SAN), seeking an order, halting the premiere and release of the said “Okafor’s Law”, pending the determination of a copyright infringement suit filed against Oboli.

Joined as first to third defendants in the suit are: Dioni Visions Entertainment, Omoni Oboli, and The FilmOne Ltd.

The plaintiff, in its exparte application, had sought an order, restraining the premiere or release of the said film, as well as an Anton Piller order, seizing all copies of the infringing material.

The exparte application was moved in terms by counsel from the Law Firm of Idigbe, O. Otudor, who urged the court to grant the orders as prayed.

Delivering his ruling on the exparte motion, Justice Buba granted the orders as prayed.

The court had earlier issued an order of interim injunction, halting the screening of the movie at the premiere which held on Friday, March 24.

The court made the following orders:

An order of interim injunction, restraining the first to third defendants, whether by themselves or their privies, from premiering the feature film “Okafor’s Law”, in Lagos or any part of Nigeria, pending the hearing of the motion on notice.

An order of interim injunction, restraining the defendant from releasing the featured film in any movie theatre or Cinema house on March 31, pending the hearing of the motion on notice.

An order of interim injunction, restraining the defendants from distributing the featured film, pending the determination of the motion on notice.

An Anton piller order is granted to the plaintiff, to enter into the defendant’s premises, Cinema, Studio and other places of dissemination, to seize all copies of infringing materials relating to subject matter.

An order, directing the defendants to deliver and surrender to the plaintiff’s solicitors, all products and packages with the inscription, “Okafor’s Law” and volume of transaction or trade which have been done by defendants.

An order directing the defendants to permit the court’s bailiff, and such other persons not exceeding four (4), to enter the premises on any working day of Monday to Saturday at 8am to 8pm, to remove all products or packages with the name “Okafor’s Law”

An order for a search to be conducted (in) places where “Okafor’s Law” is stored and sold.

An order declaring that a failure of defendants to comply with the court’s order, will put the plaintiff at liberty to apply for committal to prison of such person.

The court thereafter, fixed March 29 for hearing of the motion on notice.

The movie “Okafor’s Law” is billed for release on March 31.

Jude Idada had accused Oboli of copyright infringement on the “Okafor’s Law” movie, adding that she had stolen his story idea for the movie in September 2016.

He alleged that Oboli took the work he had done regarding “Okafor’s Law”, and developed it without giving him due credit.

He avers that the producer however, went ahead to set March 31, as a release date for the movie, inspite of a demand letter sent to her, as well as a copyright infringement suit instituted.

19 Comments

  1. Honestina

    March 28, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    I’m for justice whether it favours Omoni or Jude. I however advise Omoni is go the Kardashian route and make money out of this situation. She should start writing another movie based on the “ seizure of Okafor’s Law”. May the truth prevail

    • nene

      March 28, 2017 at 3:36 pm

      you think this is america or hollywood?

  2. slice

    March 28, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Isn’t this judge overreaching. Injunction is one thing but seizing the movie before making a final decision is too much of a stretc

    • tunmi

      March 28, 2017 at 6:29 pm

      That’s part of the injunction, I’m guessing. If they didn’t seize the movie, then it would be airing in theatres and Omoni (and the other companies involved) would be profiting from it. I get what you’re saying tho.

    • SB

      March 28, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      The point of an Anton Piller order is to SEIZE the materials. If she is restrained by only an interim injunction (which abates in 7 days in Lagos if I’m correct) but has access to the materials, do you think anything can stop her from “leaking” the movie anyway ? Justice Buba is one of the most reasonable judges of the federal high court. I’m sure he knows what he’s doing.

    • adelegirl

      March 29, 2017 at 8:25 am

      An Anton Piller order is a normal interlocutory order given in the course of proceedings. The plaintiff’s counsel would have had to submit a sworn affidavit and present strong grounds (evidence) as a basis for the court to grant the order. The judge is not overreaching

  3. tunmi

    March 28, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Well damn. I’m curious to see how this plays out. I’m really glad Idada went with the court system. I’m leaning more on his side because his method was a show and not tell. Whereas Oboli’s was using pity and more of a tell not show.

    • Engoz

      March 28, 2017 at 4:07 pm

      Me too, wanna see the outcome. Nigerians don’t take intellectual property theft seriously. Just looked up the Jude Idada… has quite a professional resume and experience. I’m more likely to believe his side.

    • Sunshiney

      March 28, 2017 at 5:47 pm

      Completely agree with you. I cannot speak for Nigerians but black people who live outside of the developed world seem not to take the concept of intellectual property seriously. Either you get permission and pay your dues or you come up with something original… case closed.

  4. ranti

    March 28, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Hmm, we shall see……

  5. mee

    March 28, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    isnt this the same issue with wives on strike i guess? but the individual didnt follow it up and Omoni gave a lame excuse and called it a coincidence. Nice order from the judge, if its someones intellectual property , she shouldnt be allowed to profit from it.

    • Laura

      March 29, 2017 at 5:43 am

      Hm. If this is true, doesn’t do well for Omoni’s character. She just wants to reap without sowing. We are just lazy in mind. No creativity.

    • Idomagirl

      March 29, 2017 at 4:59 pm

      Yup….she was accused of something similar with Wives on Strike too.
      She needs to do better, she and anyone stealing from others…
      It’s not by shouting “haters” or calling God’s name in vain…

  6. Doroanon

    March 28, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    Omoni with her kunyeh kunyeh (whatever that means) eyes.She’s a user and a manipulator. It serves her right.

  7. LEM

    March 28, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    I don’t know who is right here, but lesson learnt is when you have a genuine claim go to the court of law not the court of social media(I.e ranting on twitter, instagram etc). This guy did not make noise, he simply hired a lawyer and the rest is still ongoing.

  8. moodie

    March 29, 2017 at 3:51 am

    talking of copyright, there’s a direct quote on this article that i see on the vanguard, who’s copying who in this case?

  9. Iris

    March 29, 2017 at 5:40 am

    Wait, she stole the idea in September 2016? Weren’t we talking about this movie last September already? I thought it even premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2016.

  10. Gregory

    March 30, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    BETWEEN RACONTEUR PRODUCTION LTD AND OMONI OBOLI ON “OKAFOR’S LAW”

    The Court on Thursday March 30, 2017 gave Omoni Oboli the go ahead to release “Okafor’s Law” on Friday March 31, 2017.

    The case on Thursday was for an interlocutory injunction to stop the exhibition of the film pending the determination of the substantive matter.
    It would be recalled that an interim injunction stopping the premiere of the film had been granted earlier to the Plaintiff, Raconteur Production Ltd, against the Defendants, Dioni Visions Entertainment Ltd, Omoni Oboli and Filmone Ltd on the 14th of March, 2017 that lasted till Thursday 30th March 2017.

    The Plaintiff, Raconteur Production Ltd who is the alleged copyright owner claimed that it sent the script Okafor’s Law written by Jude Idada to Filmone Ltd for a Co-production in 2015. Email exchanges were made and Filmone sent Raconteur a letter to Co-produce the film for the sum of N15Million. According to the source, this letter of intent to co-produce was eventually withdrawn by Filmone. Surprisingly, a finished movie in the same name and content, as seen when the film premiered in Canada was sent by Dioni Vision Entertainment and said to be written by Omoni Oboli, about a year after.

    The Plaintiff through its lawyers, sent a letter of demand to Dioni Visions Entertainment Ltd, Omoni Oboli and Filmone Ltd on 2nd March, 2017 and received by the Defendants on the 3rd of March, 2017 requesting for public apology acknowledging that the 1st and 2nd Defendants are not the rightful owners of the copyrights to the screenplay “Okafor’s Law” and stopping the 3rd Defendant from the distribution of the film, amongst other demands which included monetary demands for damages.

    Since nothing was heard from the Defendants, the Plaintiff filed and obtained an Interim Injunction to stop the film from premiering on the 24th of March, 2017 and carry out an Anton Piller Order of the Court. The Interlocutory Order on Thursday was to extend this Order pending the hearing and determination of the substantive Suit.

    The alleged copyright owner, Jude Idada also claim that this was the second time Omoni Oboli will do this to him. According to him, she had done this previously in her last film, “Being Mrs Elliot”.

    The Court at the hearing on Thursday held however that monetary compensation will be adequate for the Plaintiff if judgement is found in its favour. It also granted speedy hearing of the matter.

    Though the Court has granted go ahead for the film to be released in film houses, the matter continues for hearing of the substantive matter on Monday 3rd April, 2017

  11. stanley

    April 4, 2017 at 3:04 am

    there are many film yet to be realised. omoni should just comply n move ahead with other great works like ‘Do I know’. Imagine a world without sorrow. after God who. love without tears. amidst plenty. and many more

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