The Chief Executive Officer of EbonyLife Films, Mo Abudu, has responded to copyright infringement allegations levelled against her by Tobore Mit-Ovuorie.
Multiple award-winning journalist Tobore Mit-Ovuorie, had called out Mo Abudu for allegedly using her work without giving her due credit.
Weeks after October 2, 2020, Netflix global release of ‘Oloture’, Journalist, Tobore Mit-Ovuorie took to Twitter with shocking revelations.
In a video sighted by Newsonspot.com.ng, the journalist can be seen stating that the movie is her work and life experience, and wondered why she wasn’t given due credit for it.
"Oloture is a copy and paste of my life story" – Tobore Mit-Ovuorie calls out Mo Abudu, others for allegedly using her work without credit.
🎥: Pulse One pic.twitter.com/NnymoX2ghp
— Laila Ijeoma | Lailasnews.com (@LailaIjeoma) January 8, 2021
Mo Abudu has expressly denied the claims stating that Oloture is a work of fiction and was inspired by a variety of true events.
In the video released on her Instagram page, she acknowledged that before the release of Oloture, Tobore was duly notified and was given a private screening.
Additionally, Tobore was promised five percent of the films’ gains.
After an earlier official statement, Mo Abudu wrote on Instagram:
“I would like to take a few minutes of your time today to shed some light on the recent allegations of copyright infringement made by investigative reporter Tobore Ovuorie against EbonyLife Films in relation to Oloture (the movie).
“I also stand as mentor to so many young girls and ladies, I never want to disappoint any of you, so again, I did this to give you all an understanding of the situation,” she wrote.
Newsonspot.com.ng reports that Premium Times Services Limited, publishers of Premium Times, had in November 2020, said journalist Tobore Ovuorie cannot claim copyright over the investigative report that inspired the movie Oloture.
Produced by EbonyLife, Oloture contains elements of a 2014 PREMIUM TIMES report by Ms Ovuorie titled ‘Inside Nigeria’s Ruthless Human Trafficking Mafia’.
It is the story of a journalist who goes undercover as a prostitute to expose sexual exploitation and trafficking of young women to Europe.
The film which was released on Netflix in October has received rave reviews from different parts of the world.
Ovuorie, however, claims that the production is an infringement of her copyright as the subject and author of the story.
A letter dated November 3, 2020 by her lawyers Maverick and Spectre demanded among others payment of N5million as compensation and inclusion of open and end credits in the movie “acknowledging the adaptation of her work in line with industry standard and practice.”
Responding through a letter dated November 9, 2020 from its lawyer Olaniwun Ajayi, EbonyLife said Ovuorie should desist from accusing it of “ethical misconducts which bother on intellectual theft and copyrights infringement.”
The company headed by Mo Abudu demanded that the journalist should publish a retraction of the allegation or face legal action.
Reacting to the controversy generated over the story, Mr Mojeed said the journalist was a full-time employee of PREMIUM TIMES when she undertook the investigation.
“She produced the said content as part of her job while working as our staff. Going by Nigeria‘s copyright law, only PREMIUM TIMES and its partner on that reporting project, ZAM CHRONICLES, can lay claim to the copyright for that work. Not any individual reporter or editor who worked on the project as part of their employment obligations at the time,” he said.
Oloture stars Sharon Ooja, Beverly Osu, Omowunmi Dada, Segun Arinze, Omoni Oboli, Ada Ameh, Ikechukwu, Blossom Chukwujekwu, Sambasa Nzeribe and many others.
The producers acknowledged PREMIUM TIMES and Ovuorie in the end credit as having inspired the storyline.