Federal High Court, Lagos Strikes Out Suit Against NCC

06 October 2016

THE Federal High Court, Lagos has struck out a suit brought against the Nigerian Copyright Commission, NCC, by Mr. Oben Okorie for alleged illegal arrest and detention, sequel to the Commission’s investigation of a petition received by the copyright owner of a musical work “Power from Above”, Mr. Dan Ofunne.

The petitioner alleged that Mr. Okorie, his producer and marketer, has contrary to their contract agreement, been reproducing pirated copy of his musical work and marketing same.

The Commission’s investigation revealed that the applicant, Mr. Okorie, used a fake artist to perform the work of the complainant.

It further revealed that he abandoned the original musical work and started reproducing and selling pirated work performed by the fake artist he had arranged without paying royalties to the original owner.The matter which was determined on September 29, 2016 was struck out by the presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Idris for “being frivolous and for lack of diligent prosecution” as argued by the Commission’s counsel who also reminded the court that the Commission filed a criminal suit with charge number FHC/L/391C/16 against the Applicant and his company OBEN Entertainment Limited at the Federal High Court, Lagos.

The criminal case, the counsel informed, is for illegal reproduction of musical works and is yet to be determined.The court action with suit number FHC/L/CS/639/16 was instituted against the Commission and five other persons including the Inspector General of Police; the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State; Inspector Jimoh (the police IPO) Agboju police station; the D.P.O Agboju police station and Mr. Dan Ofunne, the copyright owner.

The applicant, among other reliefs sought, prayed the court to grant damages against the respondents jointly and/or severally in the sum of Twenty Five Million Naira (N25, 000,000.00) ) for the unlawful infringement of his fundamental rights.In its reaction to the suit, the Commission through its counsel, Mr. Lawrence Nnoli faulted the said allegation of illegal arrest and detention arguing that Section 38 of the Copyright Act gives unfettered power of arrest to Copyright Inspectors over anybody who they reasonably believe to have committed any offence under the Copyright Act.

The Commission’s counsel argued that although Oben Okorie was arrested and detained, he was subsequently given bail as required by the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.

Ijeoma Egbunike
For: Director-General

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