Arts & Entertainments

AVRS slams N1bn lawsuit against Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja

The Audio Visual Rights Society of Nigeria (AVRS), Nigeria’s sole Collective Management Organisation for audio-visual works (films, movies and drama) has filed a copyright infringement action against Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

According to the lawsuit filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja on October 25, 2021 by copyright lawyer, Justin Ige Esq of Creative Legal, AVRS is praying for the award of about a N1 billion in unpaid royalties and damages against Transcorp Hilton Hotel for the unauthorised copying, communication to the public, public performance and violation of the copyright in the audio-visual works belonging to AVRS members, affiliates and assignors.

Speaking on the development, AVRS Chairman, Mr. Mahmood Ali-Balogun said they have been very patient with users, and have demonstrated a high level of civility.

“We have been strategic and thoughtful in our approach. We have even gone to them pleading that they do the right thing. Rather than reciprocate our kind gestures and respect the intellectual property of our creators and members, the Transcorp Hilton Hotel has continued unabated to infringe on the copyright of our members. Their lawyer even told us that their clients do not watch movies/films in their hotel rooms. So, they left us with no choice but to bring the full weight of the law on them. Copyright is property and anyone who must deploy our creative contents in their facilities must pay for it,” he said.

Also speaking on the development, AVRS Acting General Manager, Mrs. Olubukola Adeyemi, said: “We are not joking. We are 100% committed to exercising the mandate given to us by the law and our members. We will ensure that all commercial or public users of audio-visual works comply with the law.”

Reacting on the development, Nollywood veteran and AVRS Director, Prince Jide Kosoko said: “Monkey cannot be working and baboons are busy chopping and getting fat from the sweat of the monkey. Our films and movies are our creations and intellectual property and for any hotel, broadcaster, restaurant, lounges and salons to use them, they must pay and compensate us for them; that is what AVRS stands for.”

It will be recalled that just recently, AVRS members picketed one of the most prominent hotel brands in Lagos, Radisson Blu, following its failure to comply with the extant copyright law.

 

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