MultiChoice sued for N200m over Big Brother

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April 05, 2006/independent



A Lagos-based businessman, Mr Akinwunmi Ajayi Sidney, has asked an Ikeja High Court to order MultiChoice to pay N200 million as damages over the intellectual property right of the reality show, Big Brother Nigeria, currently being televised on M-Net.

In the suit filed at the High Court through Femi Falana’s chambers, Sidney is asking for a declaration that he has the copyright notification from Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), registration number NCC/LAO/ADM.13/C/IV/991.

The applicant, who is the chairman and chief executive officer of Hydra Entertainment, is also asking for a declaration that the literary work, Big Brother Nigeria, is not only qualified to be registered in Nigeria but that he has the exclusive right to control the reproduction or production of the television reality show.

He further asked the court to make an order restraining the respondents, Endemol International B.V, MultiChoice Nigeria Limited and NCC, from using or continue to use the work, Big Brother Nigeria.

Sidney alleged in the suit that on September 10, 2004, the NCC conferred on him the intellectual property right of Big Brother Nigeria wherein a frontline television in Nigeria, M-Net, was incorporated as partner in making the reality show a success. But as the project was nearing completion, the partnership went soar, he added.

He said during the incubating period, he brought in some positive ideas, made valuable suggestions and funded the project from his personal finance. But he started noticing signs of infringement when Big Brother Nigeria was first announced for commencement, reported and “surreptitiously launched” on December 1 through MultiChoice and M-Net that the show will debut in March 2006 without his consent and knowledge. However, no date has been fixed for hearing on the matter.

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