Case Analysis of the Tobore Ovuorie and Oloture’s Gist

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Nigerians enjoyed Oloture, a Netflix movie by EbonyLife Producers. We were awed by the complexities and gruesome activities of Human trafficking in Nigeria as portrayed by Oloture.

Case Analysis of the Tobore Ovuorie-Oloture Gist; Copyrights and Movie Adaptations in Nigeria; Lumenar Legal Advisory; Lumenar
Image source: Netflix

We were still in shock when we were blessed with another shocker. Tobore Ovuorie, an award-winning investigative journalist, in an exclusive interview with Pulse declared to the world that Oloture was “a copy and paste of her life”.

Thus, issues about copyright infringement, acknowledgement rights were brought to fore.

Copyright Protection in Nigeria

Copyright in Nigeria protects originators of creative expressions. Creative expressions can be literary, musical, artistic, cinematographic or an adaptation of any of these eligible works. To enjoy copyright in Nigeria, your work must be

  • original
  • Fixed or expressed in a visible medium

The following are copyright laws in Nigeria.

  1. The Nigerian Copyright Act
  2. Copyright (Optical Disc Plant) Regulations 2006
  3. Copyrights (levy on materials) order
  4. Berne Convention (1886)
  5. The Trade Related Aspect of Intellectual Property Rights (Trips) Agreement of 1994.
  6. WIPO Copyright Treaty of 1996

You do not need to register your work in order to enjoy copyrigh protection. This is in accordance with the Berne Convention of 1886 and sec 1(2) of Copyrights Act, cap C28. Nevertheless, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has introduced an online notification database to assist authors and creators in protecting their works more effectively.

Case Analysis of Tobore Ovuorie and EbonyLife Producers clash

Tobore Ovuorie went undercover to expose the Nigerian Human Trafficking industry. Thankfully, she returned alive but not without tales of woes. She documented her experience and adventure in a thrilling report in the year 2014. Tobore’s anger stems from the fact that her story was made into a movie without due compensation.

Can Tobore Ovuorie’s report enjoy copyright protection in Nigeria?

Yes. Tobore’s report qualifies for copyright protection in Nigeria because it has been expressed in a fixed form and have also been published.

Can Tobore Ovuorie go ahead to claim Copyright infringement against Ebony Life Producers?

Tobore might find it difficult here. This is because there is a significant difference in the Medium of expression. Tobore’s story was expressed in a newspaper article while Ebony Life Producers told their story through a movie titled “Oloture”.

Irrespective of the foregoing, the “ordinary-observer” test might be of help. The test was laid down in Daly v. Palmer. The test is to the extent that if after watching the movie, an unmistakable impression is made on the mind of an ordinary reasonable man that it is a copy of another, it would constitute an infringement.

Noteworthy, is the case of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation v. Zee Telefilms , the court noted that the infringing material must be looked at individually, then as a whole. If the theme was the same, however presentation done differently, i.e. in an entirely new manner, one could hardly call it an infringement.


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