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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Poly Student Demands N1 billion From Daily Sun For Illegal, Criminal Use of Photograph

AN Abuja-based law firm, Felix, Igelige & Associates, has accused Daily Sun of the illegal and criminal publication of a photograph in the newspaper’s May 25, 2016 edition on its ‘Sun Girl’ page and is demanding N500 million as damages for copyright infringement and illegal publication and another N500 million for invasion of privacy through the publication without the prior permission of the owner.

 In that edition, Daily Sun published the photograph of Miss Akinyemi Temitope, a student of Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro, Delta State, with the name Sadiyat’ and telephone number 09057312447 in the dating ‘Sun Girl’ page, a publication that has caused her embarrassment and emotional trauma from the break-up of her five year old relationship.

 A statement signed by Mr. Rockson A. Igelige, a University of Westminster, London trained Entertainment Lawyer, on behalf of the law firm and addressed to The Editor, Daily Sun, Mr. Onuoha Ukeh, and entitled ‘INFRINGEMENT OF THE COPY RIGHT AND DEROGATORY USE OF MISS AKINYEMI TEMITOPE`S PHOTOGRAPH AND INVASION OF HER PRIVACY BY YOUR PUBLISHING COMPANY', states, “We act as solicitors to Miss. AkinyemiTemitope, a student of the Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro, Delta State (our client) and we write this letter on her behalf.
  “Our client is the author and copyright owner of the photograph that your publishing company used on page 3 (three) of the Daily Sun of 25/5/2016 at volume 12 at Number 3413 bearing the name ‘SADIYAT’ with the Telephone No. 09057312447 under the heading SUN GIRL.
  “Our client does not bear such name as ‘Sadiyat’ and she does not use that mobile number. The image in that photograph is our client and it was our client that created that photograph which by extension is the copyright owner of that photograph your Publishing Company used as mentioned above without her permission, consent or authorization.
  “As the copyright owner of the above mentioned artistic work (photograph), our client has a number of exclusive rights defined by the Copyright Act, Cap 28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. These include the right to reproduce the works, and to publish and communicate same to the public (including by way of sale and broadcast, both conventionally and or via the internet). It is an infringement of copyright to do any of these and other protected acts in relation to the whole or a substantial part of a copyright work or to authorize anyone to do such and act or acts on your behalf without the permission or license of the copyright owner.

The letter further stated; “Our client’s attention has been drawn to your use, without permission or licence of her artistic work (photograph). Specifically, you have appropriated the work as a photograph in your Daily Sun of 25/5/16 at page 3 with the heading SUN GIRL in your volume 12 No. 3413 publication and have sold same to your customers nationwide. This artistic work (photograph) of our client can also be downloaded from your website too at www.sunnewsonline.ng
  Igelige indicts the newspaper: “By not obtaining our client’s prior permission, consent or license before engaging in this act, your company’s conduct amounts to flagrant and deliberate infringement and derogatory use of her copyright as well as invasion of her privacy.
  This unauthorized publication and illegal appropriation of her copyright has caused our Client serious embarrassment that has led to the break-up of her relationship of well over five years. Our client is now being treated as a public outcast by her friends and school mates”.

  It would be recalled that a similar copyright infringement in 2007 in which Grapevine Communication Limited illegally published the photograph of Mr. Peter Obe attracted N10 million legal suit; which the Federal High Court, Lagos, decided in favour of Mr. Obe in Peter Obe VS. Grapevine Communication LTD (2003-2007)5 I.P.L.R.
  Among other things, the law firm of Felix, Igelige & Associates is demanding:

    That Daily Sun pays N500 million for the unauthorized and derogatory use of her artistic work (photograph) in your Publishing Company on the 25/5/2016.
   
    That Daily Sun ceases and desists from further infringing on the copyright of our client as regards the aforementioned photograph.
   
    That Daily Sun pays to our client another sum of N500, 000,000.00 (Five Hundred Million Naira only) for the deliberate and unauthorized invasion of her privacy by your Publishing Company on the 25/5/2016 thereby causing her serious embarrassment, emotional trauma and break up of her relationship with her fiancĂ©.

The law firm has given Daily Sun seven days’ notice to respond to its letter of demand otherwise it would seek remedy to restore its client’s infringed rights, “including legal action for injunctive relief, criminal charges and damages, without further notice to you”.

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