Premium Times Services Limited, publishers of Premium Times, have said journalist Tobore Ovuorie cannot claim copyright over the investigative report that inspired the movie Oloture.
PREMIUM TIMES editor-in-chief Musikilu Mojeed stated this in an email made available to Qed.ng on Sunday.
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 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.
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.