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Nigerian Filmmaker Femi Adebayo Wins a Landmark Court Case Against Movie Pirates

The Nollywood star gets 25 million naira for the suit of intellectual property theft.
May 13, 2024
10:23 am
Femi Adebayo
Femi Adebayo

It was a huge legal triumph for the Nigerian film industry when the multi-award-winning actor and producer, Femi Adebayo, won a three-year court case against a media company accused of intellectual property theft involving his 2019 movie “Survival of Jelili.”


Adebayo sued the unnamed company, which runs a major radio station and YouTube channel, after it allegedly used the promotional poster and title for “Survival of Jelili” to misleadingly promote another film on its platform during the cinema run of Adebayo’s movie.


After three years in court, Adebayo was awarded 25 million naira (about $60,000) in damages by the court. The case was prosecuted by the law firm Bola Adebowale & Co Legal Practitioners.


“It took three years, but my trust in the legal and justice system remained unwavering,” Adebayo said in a statement. “With the dedication of our legal team…who are seasoned professionals with wealth of experience in handling such cases, they presented undeniable evidence, put up a strong argument, and took the case to trial.”


Femi Adebayo
Femi Adebayo

Adebayo has been very vocal about piracy as an existential threat to Nollywood’s financial sustainability; he called this ruling “a win for all of Nollywood” in its continuous fight to protect intellectual property rights and reduce revenue loss.


“We need to be ready to fight IP theft and piracy at all levels,” he said. “Every win brings us closer to protecting and getting the true economic value of our works.”


This veteran actor and filmmaker has been a victim of movie pirates several times throughout his career. This recent legal victory is a huge milestone in his persistent crusade through judicial systems to defend creators’ rights.


While the Nigerian film industry is on its way to being one of the fastest-growing industries in the world and going global, the case also highlights the increasing struggle against copyright infringement and that the legal tools are essential to protect Nollywood’s creative output and income generation.


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