JA Control Panle

Peoples Daily

Home News National News Copyright: Company demands N1.6bn damages from FCTA

Copyright: Company demands N1.6bn damages from FCTA

E-mail Print PDF

By Josephine Ella

An international media company, Living Eyes International Media Limited, the publisher of “Welcome To Abuja” has accused the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) of copyright infringement and is demanding the sum of US$10 million (about N1.6 billion)  as damages from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) ministry.
In a petition dated 3rd April, 2012, addressed to the Minister of FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed through its legal consultants, Chidel Onuora & Co, the media company accused the FCTA of infringement on the copyright of its publication titled: “Welcome To Abuja.
According to the petition, Living Eyes International Media Company is the publisher of “Welcome To Abuja” under the assigned International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) 2141-9035 by the National Library of Nigeria for its exclusive use which the FCTA allegedly infringed upon.
It stated that the media company wrote a letter to the FCTA through its consultant/agent, Goshen Technique Limited, and proposed and offered opportunity under a contract to endorse its publication “Welcome To Abuja” leaving adverts and commercial rights to it.
That the initiative of the Living Eyes International Media Coy listed the benefits of the publication to the Minister and subsequently, it was invited to meetings where its management discussed with a number of the officers of the ministry including the permanent secretary.
The petition further reads in part that “after the company had waited for several months without any response from the ministry, it again forwarded to the office of the minister of the FCTA another proposal dated 10th October 2011 and Senior Special Adviser to the minister, Jamilah Tangaza wrote to welcome the idea in a letter dated 25th October, 2011.
“To the embarrassment of the Media Coy, office of the Minister of State went ahead to publish a similar magazine with the same title “Welcome To Abuja” killing the prospects of the commercial viability of its publication,” a copy of the petition which was made available to Peoples Daily said.
In an apparent volte-face, obviously upon discovery of the infringement of the copyright and unlawful conduct of passing of its name “Welcome To Abuja” the Director,  Economic Planning, Research and Statistics, V.D Unoarumi wrote to decline the proposed contractual arrangement on the pretended ignorance of its unlawful conduct.
“Living Eyes International Media Limited considered the option of bringing this breach to the attention of the president as it contradicts his admonishment on the need for the Nigeria youth to creatively provide employment for themselves and others. This the FCT ministry conduct has done to deliberately kill its business initiative and its creative genius by passing off its goodwill.”
“The media outfit is therefore demanding US$10m from the Minister of the FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed and all those involved to be paid through its lawyer within 14 days or risk the embarrassment and cost which litigation will occasion to bring an action in the event that it failed while considering the criminal liabilities of your sand conduct,” the petition further said.
Reacting to the allegation, however, the FCTA Deputy Director of Information, who also doubles as the Editor of all in-house publications of the FCT,  Mr.  Ezeako Odi, denied receiving any proposal from a media company, regarding a contract deal on the publication, saying the legal Secretariat of the FCT has taken up the matter.
Odi, who spoke to our reporter yesterday,  said that the magazine in question, which made its debut August last year,  is one of the magazines presently being published by his office to market  the FCT administration, saying, “we tell the story of the FCT that no other media organisation will tell”. 
He said: “I am not aware of the proposal they are talking about. It was not minuted to me. I just saw it today among the petition letters sent to me by their lawyer. This is the office that publishes all FCT publication titles such as FEEDS, Residents Digest, ‘Welcome To Abuja’. This office collaborates with other arms of the FCT administration to produce these publications”.
He said if any such proposal was received by    the FCT administration as the company claimed, it would ordinarily have been forwarded to his office which is in charge of publications of the FCT.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Today's ePaper


NASIR EL-RUFAI ON FRIDAY  Benue’s opaque budget

WATCH DOG  Super Eagles: Home and foreign-based controversy

ISLAM EXPLAINED  The seven most prosperous people on the resurrection day (VII)

Find & Follows Us