The Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos on Thursday, May 3, 2018, had the first hearing of the copyright infringement suit against Samsung Electronics West Africa Limited and Ringier Media Nigeria Limited by Eagle Eye Production Limited.
The Abuja-based production company had accused Samsung and Ringier of using a part of its aerial night view video of the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge, entitled “Lekki Ikoyi Link Bridge at Night”, in a Galaxy Note 8 advert, without appropriate permission.
Samsung had claimed it had no knowledge of the creative process of the ad, as it outsourced the job to one Cheil Communications Nigeria Limited.
Cheil Communications said it contracted the job out to Ringier.
A Newsroom correspondent witnessed proceedings on the case which was presided over by Justice Hassan in open court last Thursday.
While making his defense, one of four Ringier representatives, Mr. Nnamdi Oragwu prayed the court to dismiss the suit, on grounds that the Lekki Ikoyi Link Bridge “is a national monument to which Eagle Eye Production Limited has no exclusive rights”.
Oragwu said: “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”.
Oragwu’s attempt to partly state a YouTube user agreement was briefly interrupted by Mrs. Abimbola Akeredolu (SAN), the representative for the plaintiffs.
Akeredolu (SAN) faulted Oragwu’s attempt to only read the part of the YouTube user agreement that seemed to favour his defence.
“My learned friend shows the lack of understanding of copyright law,” Akeredolu (SAN) said, as she proceeded to read YouTube’s full terms of agreement.
Akeredolu (SAN) also stated in her response to Ringier’s counsel’s submissions that Eagle Eye Production Limited has not claimed to own the Lekki Ikoyi Link Bridge or the exclusive right to film the bridge.
She said the plaintiffs are only laying claim to the unique video entitled “Lekki Ikoyi Link Bridge at Night” which they have “deployed a lot of technology and intellectual input to create.”
Akeredolu (SAN) explained: “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’m not ascertaining that I own the National Theatre, I’m 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 made no presentation before the court, as she had no objections to the applications heard in the proceedings of May 3, 2018.
Justice Hassan adjourned proceedings to July 2, 2018.
This post first appeared on www.newsroom.ng