Piracy: Femi Adebayo wins N25m suit after three years

Award-winning Nollywood producer, Femi Adebayo, has been awarded a sum of N25 million in a lawsuit that involves his company and an unnamed YouTube content aggregator.

The YouTube Channel overlayed promotional materials of his 2019 theatrical movie “Survival of Jelili” to hoax audiences into believing they were watching the actual film. This deception boosted the views of another YouTube title that earned unaccounted revenue streams over a period of time.
The 45-year-old actor took his social media page to celebrate the major win against film piracy after a three-year legal battle.

In a post via his X page on Tuesday, the Kwara born star, known for his roles in Yoruba films, detailed his struggles and recent court victory.

The film star also highlighted the adverse effects of piracy on the growth of the Nigerian movie industry.

He said he had been a “victim of movie pirates” and always ensures that he never “spares them”.
Adebayo said a media company, which owns a radio station and distributes content on YouTube, misled his fans and diverted revenue.

The movie star said he pursued legal action and after three years of litigation, the court ruled in his favor, awarding him N25 million.

The actor, who did not mention the company’s name, described the victory as “a win for all of Nollywood”.
“The Nigerian film industry has experienced exponential growth over the years, but we haven’t been able to maximise the true dividends of this business because of dare devil pirates who benefit where they didn’t sow,” he wrote.

“This is a major reason why investors find it hard to commit their funds to filmmakers. However, through persistence and the use of the legal framework covering intellectual property, we can bring their activities to a gradual halt.

“Several times, I have been a victim of movie pirates and I never spare them. I recently concluded a legal battle with a notable media company that owns a big radio station and also engages in youtube content distribution.
“During the cinema run of “Survival of Jelili” in 2019, my movie was gathering good numbers at that time. They decided to use my movie poster and title to promote a movie on their platform, thereby deceiving fans and diverting revenue accrued to me.
“It took 3 years, but my trust in the legal and justice system remained unwavering. With the dedication of our legal team, Bola Adebowale & Co Legal Practitioners, who are seasoned professionals with wealth of experience in handling such cases.

“They presented undeniable evidence, put up a strong argument, and took the case to trial. Their promptness, efficiency, and attention to detail played a huge part in the direction of the case. We won and were awarded a total of Twenty Five Million Naira.

“This isn’t just my win as a filmmaker and content producer but a win for all of Nollywood. We need to be ready to fight IP theft and piracy at all levels. Every win brings us closer to protecting and getting the true economic value of our works.”


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