A N300 million lawsuit has been slammed on a firm, Solution Media and Infotech, owners of Hi-Inpact TV, at the Federal High Court in Lagos over alleged copyright infringement. In the suit marked, FHC/L/CS/1814/21, the plaintiff, Sate Television Ltd, accused the defendant (Solution Media and Infotech) of illegally and fraudulently assigning the copyright of its artistic work, ‘Urban Kitchen Show’ to its sister company in the United Kingdom, Solution Media and Infotech UK Ltd.
In its statement of claims, the plaintiff averred that it is the creator of ‘Urban Kitchen Show’, an original artistic work and a television programme created for the purpose of informing, teaching and educating viewers about various ways of preparing highly nutritious and delicious meals, particularly African dishes on any kind of budget.
The plaintiff further averred that in creating the artistic work, it expended sufficient effort and substantial amount of mental, emotional, intellectual and physical energy to make the work original in character.
It was added that the plaintiff as a brand is a popular household name in the entertainment industry globally with specialty in practical dissemination of the culinary art of African dishes and demonstration of how to prepare very delicious and nutritious meals on any budget.
It was averred that on or about 25th February, 2020, the plaintiff received a WhatsApp message from one, Andrew Ohio, requesting that it share with him, the link to an episode of its artistic work, ‘Urban Kitchen Show’, for consideration for possible acquisition by his client.
Plaintiff further averred that on or about 27th February, 2020, it got another message from Andrew Ohio requesting for a term sheet in which the name of the defendant was mentioned for the first time, stating that his client, the defendant, was interested in the plaintiff’s artistic work.
The plaintiff further averred that upon a review of the ‘Urban Kitchen Show’ episode submitted via a link for consideration by the defendant’s management,
Andrew Ohio requested for 26 episodes of the artistic work to be submitted through him to the defendant for the sole purpose of quality control. The plaintiff said it later drafted the term sheet stating the price per episode, duration, location and the type of license (non-exclusive).
The term sheet was sent to the defendant through the said Andrew Ohio via an editable Microsoft word format by WhatsApp.
It was averred that the 26 episodes of ‘Urban Kitchen Show’ sent to the defendant through Andrew Ohio were strictly for the preliminary or pre-agreement step of “quality control” and not to be aired, broadcast or published by the defendant without the consent or authorisation of the plaintiff.
The plaintiff further averred that on or about 3rd March, 2020, its Managing Director, Mr. Daodu Omoluku, reached out to the defendant through WhatsApp message to the said Andrew Ohio inquiring about the status of the contract to be signed and the possible date of payment of the agreed price per episode.
In his reply, the said Andrew Ohio said the money will be paid in naira, contrary to what was stated in the term sheet, by the defendant, and that the contract would be sent to the plaintiff soon for execution.
Plaintiff further averred that it continued to remind the said Andrew Ohio, through WhatsApp messages, of the need for the execution of the contract until sometimes in March 2020 when the said Andrew Ohio revealed that he had signed the contract on its behalf, without its consent and knowledge.
Plaintiff further averred that while still urging the defendant to execute the contract so that it can be paid, it was discovered that the defendant had started broadcasting the artistic work, without its consent or authorisation, via its platform in Nigeria, Hi-Impact TV, and also through its sister company in the United Kingdom in collaboration with Sky TV.