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Actress Stephanie Linus Responds to Copyright Infringement Allegations

BellaNaija.com

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Nollywood actress, Stephanie Linus has released an official statement in response to the copyright allegations over her movie ‘DRY’.

Earlier, lawyer and scriptwriter Daniella Madudu claimed the actress had gotten a hold of her script through a mutual friend Joy Ndidi who was a part of her (Daniella) team of readers and editors in 2011.

According to Daniella, DRY allegedly has “substantial similarity” and semblance to her original work, titled ‘Behind her Veil,’

In light of this news, Stephanie has spoken up.

Read her statement below

“Character assassination is at once easier and surer than physical assault; and it involves far less risk for the assassin. It leaves him free to commit the same deed over and over again, and may indeed win him the honors of a hero in the country of his victims.” – Alan Barth (1906 – 1979)

On the 19TH of May, 2017, I received a letter from one Rafiu Bello acting on behalf of one Daniella Madudu accusing me of appropriation of an “original literary work” that was allegedly stolen from her by Ms. Joy Ndidi (an allegation that has been roundly refuted), copyright infringement and all manner of impropriety as relates my movie ‘DRY’ and demanding that I credit this Daniella Madudu with ownership of my work, pay the sum of N60,000,000 (SIXTY MILLION NAIRA) and royalties; or face a “campaign of calumny”(which by the way is already afoot) both home and abroad.

Naturally, my initial reaction was to ignore it as something so ludicrous as to be able to find firm footing in the mind of any normal or rightly thinking individual and only routinely passed it onto my lawyers at a later date and thought nothing more of it. They (my lawyers), as a matter of course responded to it.

That these persons have since gone ahead with their premeditated plan to defame me upon allegations they know to be baseless, spurious and glaringly untrue is no longer news as the media is presently awash with the ‘fruit of their labour’ and ordinarily I would not have dignified it with a response but for the sake of posterity and lest my silence be termed an admission of any wrongdoing whatsoever, I will simply proceed to state the facts here, viz:

  • That since my undergraduate days at the University of Calabar, I have been very passionate and deeply concerned about Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF), the plight of the girl-child and sexual violence against the female gender.
  • That in 2006 whilst still on crutches as a result of my ghastly automobile accident from the year before, I volunteered with the Mercy Ships Aberdeen West Africa Fistula Centre (as it then was) in Sierra Leone all out of my own personal savings as this was and will always be a cause very dear to my heart.
  • That in 2007/08 I visited the Mariam Abacha Women and Children’s Hospital, Sokoto where I personally made donations to the victims of VVF.
  • That in 2008 I was invited by The United Nations and the Government of Liberia to participate in the anti-rape campaign, Stop Rape and the Liberia Fistula Project.
  • That through my non-governmental organisation, The Extended Hands Foundation and our numerous partners, over 150 women and young ladies across the country have successfully undergone reconstructive surgery and have gone on to live wholesome fulfilling lives free of the stigmatization and the sheer pain and discomfort that comes with VVF.
  • That I registered the script for my movie ‘DRY’ with The United States Copyright Office on November 28TH, 2011.
  • That I registered the script for my movie ‘DRY’ with The Nigerian Copyright Commission on July 27TH, 2012.
  • That my movie ‘DRY’ was shot in the months of August and September, 2012 in Nigeria.
  • That the unofficial trailer for ‘DRY’ was released to lend my voice in support of the ‘Child Not Bride’ campaign.
  • That Ms. Joy Ndidi’s first ever contact with me was in 2013 (DRY was already a finished project at this time) and it was not until June 2013 that she was officially engaged to provide content and ad-placement for my personal blog, ‘The Stephanie Daily’ for all of six (6) months and this she did from the comfort of her home.
  • That the so called “original literary work” of the Daniella Madudu, I was supposed to have appropriated in my movie has never been registered at The Nigerian Copyright Commission even as we speak.

These are easily verifiable facts that any half-hearted attempt at investigative and responsible journalism would have turned up if indeed uncovering the truth for the benefit of the public was the primary motive behind the malicious publication.

It is truly a sorry pass we have come to as society when all it takes to ruin a person’s reputation overnight is the spewing forth of mere accusations just because he or she happens to be in the public eye.

I choose to speak out and address this vice that has suddenly become the norm in our society and the acceptable standard of modern day “journalism”. We used to be better than this as a people; my prayer is that we still are.

DRY is more than just a movie; it is a righteous cause for voiceless women and young girls who have suffered the most debilitating kind of emotional and physical abuse, and anyone who seeks to denigrate this painful sacrifice with a smear campaign, with the intent to make gain or attract cheap publicity, simply lacks wisdom.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all those that have shown tremendous support and spoken up these past few days to end these words the same way it began.

“An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does the truth become error because nobody sees it. Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self-sustained.” Mahatma Gandhi

 

17 Comments

  1. pissedoff

    June 8, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    wow…i’m very impressed with general grammatical accuracy of this statement. well done stephanie

    • Wale Vintage

      June 8, 2017 at 8:12 pm

      Not saying she can’t write, but this was probably written by her lawyers or PR people. Where is the original allegation or smear campaign? I will come back….

    • Wale Vintage

      June 8, 2017 at 8:53 pm

      Okay, so I have read the complaints on Olisa’s website. It seems point #6 and 10 are the only two relevant matters here (the rest is fluff or irrelevant), ….when did Stephanie claim she wrote and registered the story/script and when she first met Ms Ndidi Joy who apparently used to work for attorney madudu and in fact helped with the typing of madudu’s version of the script aptly titled “behind her veil”. If Stephanie knew Ndidi in 2011 then there is a good possibility she was given the idea of her script by Ndidi. We need to read both copies though to determine if they are materially similar. I am not sure that it matters if one person ran to the copyright office first to register it. Stolen work is stolen work. But again, I am not a lawyer.

    • tunmi

      June 8, 2017 at 9:52 pm

      @Wale Vintage, Stephanie and Joy Ndidi met in 2013 according to what was written here.
      “That Ms. Joy Ndidi’s first ever contact with me was in 2013 (DRY was already a finished project at this time) and it was not until June 2013 that she was officially engaged “

    • FasholasLover

      June 9, 2017 at 1:50 am

      I smiled all through…. Good grammar gets me all the time.

  2. Nenye

    June 8, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    Wow…..Explicit and matured response. Well done Ms Linus

  3. Jaxen

    June 8, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    ??? this is how you do it. I am not trying to be petty but Omoni watch and learn. When you are accused, you don’t start saying let God be the judge, you come out guns blazing with all your evidence. Verifiable evidence. My love and respect for this girl just trippled. Now, young lady, release your own evidence so we see whose will be the verdict in this matter. I am very impressed and proud of this statement.

  4. Blueberry

    June 8, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    The lady must be a scammer. Really? 60,000,000?!! The fool actually thinks she is entitled to receive that sum? Baboon di work, monkey dey chop Abi? Well done Stephanie. You are a wise woman.

  5. uloma

    June 8, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    Strong statement. Impressed much! Definitely the way you go about refuting an allegation. Well done to Steph and her people.

  6. Bubu

    June 8, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    That is why it is not good to sleep on your ideas, no be only you get brain. The accusation is dead on arrival. Well done Stephanie this is a well composed statement with facts.

  7. ladyluchi

    June 8, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    My woman crush everyday

  8. Samson

    June 8, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    Nice write up, I once watched a similar movie in the early 90s about vvf, very similar in nature, the truth is that stories bordered on vvf are bound to be similar but for someone to say it’s stolen work, that’s not fair. This is a work she won award for as trail Blazer over a year ago, this work was talked about so much before it’s release, you didn’t come out. I think the person is babbling and trying to gain cheap popularity and lastly, when you have a work, register it, be discreet about it and don’t procrastinate on it…cos different people can have similar ideas.

  9. sharon

    June 8, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    This is how you kill an allegation before it starts!! Too proud of you Stephanie

  10. David

    June 9, 2017 at 3:17 am

    I’m surprised by people’s surprise by Stephanie’s response. Are we forgetting Stephanie is one of the actual leading ladies in Nigerian film industry and a veteran? That after Jeta Amata’s Amazing Grace and before Figurine there was Through The Glass; her directorial debut which happens to be one of the unwritten pioneers of modern Nigerian cinema? That her sophomore film Dry is an essential Nigerian film with a powerful social message? No one achieves great fits without wit.

    Stephanie has always been a class act, always! This is a woman who, at the peak of her career, was taken off poster jackets and our screens by a fatal accident which almost claimed her life only to bounce back, and then weather a publicised failed marriage. She handled all with dignity. Just because she’s been flying under the radar like a bunch of brilliant Nigerian actresses like Ireti Doyle and Tina Mba, doesn’t mean she’ll trip over handling crises.

  11. Abominable snow girl

    June 9, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    Lawyer up everyone. ?
    There’s alot of stealing of ideas and “purported, alleged” stealing of ideas, designs…you name it going around.
    It’ll be in the best interest of any aspiring entrepreneur, celebrity or politician to know their rights and get a lawyer permanently on retainer.

  12. Joyce

    June 9, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    @Wale Vintage, I suggest you read an article before you start commenting. People like you that jump into conclusions when facts are staring them in the face are part of the problem in Nigeria. Remove sentiments and work with facts.

    The sooner the judicial system in Nigeria starts holding people responsible for character assassination the better for the country. Shame on media that rushes to publish rumors without making efforts to verify or at least hear from all parties involved.

  13. OA

    June 9, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    This lady has carved a quite unique niche for herself. I see her accomplishing much in the future if she so desires. Her expectations for herself may be quite different, such as family first, etc. but she carries herself veerrrry well.

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