Mo Abudu, a founder and CEO of Ebonylife film, has denied the allegations of copyright infringement involving ‘Oloture’, her 2020 film.
Tobore Ovuorie, a freelance journalist, had claimed the movie adapted 75 percent of her 2014 undercover investigation on sex trafficking. She also alleged that it was done without her express permission.
Based in Lagos, ‘Oloture’ had shown how sex workers are recruited and exploited overseas. Among its cast are Sharon Ooja, Patrick Doyle, Sambasa Nzeribe, Omoni Oboli, Lala Akindoju, Omawumi, and Segun Arinze.
On the other hand, Ovuorie’s investigation, which was published on Premium Times, exposed the syndicates that caused the death of Ifueko, her friend, who returned from sex work in Italy in 1999 with AIDS and died thereafter.
Taking to her Instagram in reaction to Ovuorie’s repeated engagement with the media, Abudu denied the claims.
Contrary to the allegations, the media mogul said ‘Oloture’ is a work of fiction inspired by a variety of true stories, one of which is Ovuorie’s 2014 investigative story.
“We refrained from placing a rejoinder to Ovuorie’s publication. However, we are constrained at this time to issue this statement to set the records straight and put an end to the disparaging statements by Ovuorie,” Abudu wrote.
“Contrary to the disparaging comments of Ovuorie, Oloture is a work of fiction inspired by a variety of true events.
“The Movie evolved after in-depth research and wide consultation with several entities with diverse accounts of human/sex trafficking which informed the development of O/oture as a social impact project.
“One of such is the Premium Times’ publication of 23.01.14 (“the Publication”) as authored by Ms. Ovuorie under the employ of Premium Times.
“Regarding the Publication, and as borne out by the Premium Times’ publication of 15.11.20, the Company sought and obtained the authorization of Premium Times as part of the publications that inspired the movie.”
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Abudu said her team had reached out to the journalist and her NGO to acknowledge her journalistic efforts.
“In this regard, the company granted Ovuorie a private preview of the Movie in 2019 and a special mention in the end-credit of Oloture as well as an exclusive interview on ‘Moments with Mo’,” the movie producer added.
“Additionally, the Company, gratuitously committed to donating five percent of the profit derived from the theatrical run of the Movie in support of the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) founded by Ms. Ovuorie to advance the campaign against human/sex trafficking in Nigeria, though the movie did not have a theatrical run.
“Whilst the unfounded allegations by Ms. Ovuorie are aimed at tarnishing the image/reputation of the Company, EbonyLife is, and remains, a law-abiding entity with due respect to intellectual property and human creativity.”
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