After a two year legal battle, Nollywood actress Omoni Oboli has won the legal battle over the ownership of the script for ‘Okafor’s Law’ which was challenged by Jude Idada and Rancouteour Productions.
According to court documents, the Federal High Court, Lagos Division (Per Ibrahim Buba J.) on Thursday, 2nd May, 2019 delivered its Judgment in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/401/2017 – Raconteur Productions Limited v. Dioni Visions Entertainment Limited & 2 Ors, an action bordering on issues of alleged Intellectual Property theft and Copyright Infringement.
Judgment was delivered in favour of the Defendants and the claims sought by the Plaintiff against the Defendants were denied and the matter dismissed.
See the full judgement on the case below…
The above stated matter was instituted vide a Writ of Summons dated 16th March, 2017 and filed at the instance of Raconteur Productions Limited against the trio of Dioni Visions Entertainment Limited; Ms. Omoni Oboli and FilmOne Limited in respect of the Defendants’ alleged infringement of the Plaintiff’s Copyright in the script and/or screenplay of the feature film, Okafor’s Law.
The Plaintiff had claimed ownership of the screenplay and/or script of Okafor’s Law which said ownership was allegedly assigned to it by Mr. Jude Idada. The Plaintiff claimed that it had initiated talks with the 3rd Defendant [FilmOne] to produce the movie but FilmOne colluded with Ms. Omoni Oboli to infringe on its alleged Copyright by producing and distributing the movie, Okafor’s Law. Consequently, the Plaintiff sought Injunctive Reliefs and Damages of N900,000,000 (Nine Hundred Million Naira) against the Defendants.
Trial in this matter commenced on 4th April, 2017 and ended on 7th June, 2018. In the course of trail, the Plaintiff fielded 2 Witnesses whilst the 1st – 2nd Defendants and the 3rd Defendant fielded 1 Witness each. Parties thereafter adopted their Final Addresses on 30th January, 2019 and Judgment was reserved.
The Plaintiff’s Witnesses: Ms. Chioma Onyenwe and Jude Idada, during cross-examination admitted that Jude Idada first heard the story of the Okafor’s Law myth from Omoni Oboli sometime in November, 2014 when he was invited to the Home of Nnamdi and Omoni Oboli to discuss a preconceived idea for the adaptation of the social myth popularly known as “Okafor’s Law”. The Plaintiff’s Witnesses also admitted that Jude Idada was contracted by Omoni Oboli to prepare the draft screenplay for the movie for the sum of N750,000.00 (Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira). In his oral testimony, Jude Idada admitted that he did not forward any screenplay and/or script to Omoni Oboli for the movie, Okafor’s Law.
The Plaintiff in its case stated that it had approached FilmOne for a possible movie production deal in respect of the feature film, Okafor’s Law. However, 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. The Court also noted that the Plaintiff failed to prove that it shared any script or screenplay for Okafor’s Law with FilmOne prior to the cancellation of the Movie production arrangement.
The Trial Judge, Honouarble Justice Buba, in a well-considered Judgment held that the Plaintiff, having 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 in the feature film, Okafor’s Law directed and produced by the 1st – 2nd Defendants and distributed by the 3rd Defendants.
Consequently the Plaintiff’s claims for Injunctive Reliefs and Damages against the Defendants were denied and the instant suit dismissed.
The recent Judgment by the Federal High Court, Lagos Division in the above case demonstrates Our Court’s commitment to do Justice without fear or favour. It is also a testimony that Our Judiciary comprises of Judges of very high integrity, who possess the ability and intellect to assimilate, digest and patiently apply the facts and the relevant laws.
This Judgment has reinstated my implicit confidence in our judicial arm of government and reechoed the truism that the Judiciary remains the last hope of the common man.
I am extremely grateful to the Law Firm of Alegeh & Co. for their dexterity, professionalism and sound legal representation which culminated in our victory in Court.
I also wish to thank my Colleagues in Nollywood, Family, Friends and Fans who believed in our cause and remained steadfast in the face of the lies and untruths that were spoken against us. This legal victory is dedicated to you all.
May God bless us all abundantly, Amen.
Dioni Visions Entertainment Limited