An Abuja-based production company, Eagle Eye Production Limited, has filed a copyright infringement suit against Samsung Electronics West Africa and Ringier Nigeria Limited.
According to Suit No. FHC/L/CS/303/2018, filed on February 26, 2018, the Plaintiff, Eagle Eye, alleges that Samsung and Ringier (1st and 2nd Defendant respectively) used part of its aerial night view video of the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge as part of their Galaxy Note8 ad.
The video, which is the subject of the suit is titled “Lekki Ikoyi Link Bridge at Night” while Samsung’s video is titled “Nightlife in Lagos with Galaxy Note8”.
In its Statement of Claim,, the Plaintiff alleges that:
“12. On October 16, 2017, the 1st Defendant published the “Nightlife in Lagos with Galaxy Note8” video to the public on its YouTube channel. However, in publishing the said video, the 1st Defendant utilized the Scenes from the the Plaintiffs’ “Lekki Ikoyi Link Bridge at Night” as part of a marketing strategy to promote the sale of its high-end device – the Samsung Galaxy Note8, in order to increase its appeal to potential customers.
15. The Plaintiffs aver that when a comparison is made between the Scenes in the Plaintiffs’ “Lekki Ikoyi Link Bridge at Night” and that contained in the 1st Defendant’s “Nightlife in Lagos with Galaxy Note8”, (using the Screen Shots), the sameness of the Scenes cannot be missed (both to the ordinary eye and at a cursory glance).
1 7. The Plaintiffs aver that upon becoming aware of the 1st Defendant’s publication of the Scenes in the “Nightlife in Lagos with Galaxy NoteB” video, the Plaintiffs caused their Solicitors to write a” cease and desist letter” to the 1st Def end ant.”
The Plaintiff is seeking several declarations including a declaration that the scenes from its video are the same as that used in the Defendant’s video. The Plaintiff is also seeking N65 Million Naira as damages.
In its defence, Samsung claimed it was not directly involved in the creative process since it had outsourced the job to Cheil Communication who later contracted the job to the 2nd Defendant.
The first hearing in the case was reportedly held on May 3, 2018. During the hearing, one of the Counsel’s to the 2nd Defendant, unbelievably argued that the Bridge is a national monument to which the Plaintiff has no exclusive rights.
“Can you exercise a right over an item you do not own, where you don’t have a license? Are you the owner of the bridge? If the court allows the suit to stand, what it means is that we’re going to open a stream of business for Nigerians….What this means is that anyone can take a picture of the National Theatre and say he charges rights over the monument. The owners have said they gave nobody any rights”.
Counsel to the Plaintiff, Mr. Abimbola Akeredolu (SAN), in response to the 2nd Defendant’s Counsel’s submission stated: “My learned friend shows the lack of understanding of copyright law”. According to her, the Plaintiff is only laying claim to the unique video entitled “Lekki Ikoyi Link Bridge at Night” which it has “deployed a lot of technology and intellectual input to create.”
“If I deploy special technology to take a picture of the National Theatre at night and I make it look so beautiful that everybody wants to come and see, I am not ascertaining that I own the National Theatre, I am ascertaining that this special picture that I took of National Theatre by night is mine. The technology I deployed to take that picture and all of what came out is mine. I own the copyright in that picture. And if anybody wants to use, they owe me a duty to come to me and say, ‘I want to use your picture in my film, I want to use your picture in my album, what will be the cost to use’. That, simply, is the copyright infringement we are ascertaining.”
Samsung’s representative, Mrs. J. Uchenna Njoku, had no objections to the applications heard in the May 3 proceedings.
The proceeding are adjourned to July 2, 2018.
Case Name: AKOJI AGENI – YUSUF AND ANOR. v. SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS WEST AFRICA LIMITED AND ANOR.
Suit No.: FHC/L/CS/303/2018
BEFORE: Justice Hassan of Federal High Court Lagos
SUBJECT: Copyright Infringement
Click here to read the Statement of Claim