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By Taiwo Okanlawon
Premium Times Services Limited, publishers of Premium Times, has disclosed that journalist Tobore Ovuorie cannot claim copyright over the investigative report which belongs to the media company that inspired the movie Oloture.
According to PREMIUM TIME’s editor-in-chief Musikilu Mojeed, only the media company and its partner on that reporting project, ZAM CHRONICLES, can lay claim to the copyright for Oloture going by Nigeria law of copyright.
The PREMIUM TIMES’ article, which was titled ‘Inside Nigeria’s Ruthless Human Trafficking Mafia’, was written by investigative reporter, Tobore Ovuorie, and published on August 12, 2014.
Ms Ovuorie was motivated by years of research into the plight of trafficked women in the country, as well as the loss of a friend, to go undercover in a multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise.
She emerged, bruised and beaten but thankfully alive, after witnessing orgies, big-money deals in jute bags, police-supervised pickpocketing, beatings and even murder. The report was lauded by many.
The producers acknowledged PREMIUM TIMES and Ms Ovuorie in the end credit as having inspired the storyline for ‘Oloture’.
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 told Qed that 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 on 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.
Directed by Kenneth Gyang, ‘Oloture’ follows the story of a journalist who goes undercover as a prostitute to expose human trafficking but she only finds a world of exploited women and ruthless violence.
The film, which shows how sex workers are recruited and exploited overseas, was written by Craig Freimond and Yinka Ogun.
It stars Sharon Ooja, Beverly Osu, Omowumi Dada, Segun Arinze, Omoni Oboli,Omawumi, Ada Ameh, Ikechukwu, Blossom Chukwujekwu and many others.
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