I know it’s not what any filmmaker wants on the day of their film premiere but think about it, ‘is it really a bad thing?’
Just a bit of background…. Yesterday, 24 March 2017, was the highly anticipated premiere of one of Nollywood’s most actively marketed films since December’s Wedding Party, Omoni Oboli’s Okafor’s Law. Not only had billboards been put up, street lamp posters, promotional pics, a newly cut trailer and teasers had made the rounds to excite the movie watching public and gear the audience up for the 31 March cinema release.
All of that seems to be premature right now, as news of a court injunction stalling the premiere and release of the film is poised to be the biggest marketing campaign the film will enjoy.
But I’m not here to talk about the marketing of Okafor’s Law but the reaction I’ve seen to the news of a court injunction, many cussing the wickedness of a court injunction against the film. Really?!
Yes, I agree that it may have been very petty of the aggrieved party/parties to issue the injunction an hour before the scheduled premiere but the bigger question is, ‘are we being sincere by our reaction to the injunction and making legal action appear as the wrong approach to the matter?’
For one that has hotly anticipated seeing this film, it would be easy for me to cry foul and react emotionally, but I have to take a step back and reason. You know why?
Because, we’ve spent time discussing how unprofessional business can be in Nigeria.
Because, we’ve heard tales that made us cringe at how easy it is for copyright issues to go unresolved in Nigeria.
Because we all know that the battle against piracy is more like a cool breeze than a tornado on the war path, and it annoys creatives.
Because, there seems to be poor legal recourse when there are issues brewing in our society and we always complain about the underdog losing out to Goliaths because they can’t fight legal battles.
So I ask again, is the court injunction a bad thing?
For those of you that didn’t know, this is not the first we are hearing that Okafor’s Law is ‘stolen’ material, way back when in September 2016, Jude Idada, who allegedly wrote the script that was tweaked spoke up in an article stating his grievances.
However, when I saw that a premiere and release date had been scheduled and the marketing ball was rolling in full gear, I thought, probably like most people, that the parties involved had resolved the issue. Unfortunately this was not the case and while some articles called her out on it, Omoni kept mum on the issue.
Questions that come to mind now are:
Should Raconteur Productions have waited till now to serve the injunction? It seems like one of those scenes in Hollywood films / TV shows ba?
Should Omoni’s team have ensured there was some resolve with Raconteur before they went ahead to schedule the fancy premiere and release?
Is this a turning point in Nollywood in terms of improved copyright and intellectual property awareness?
Will both parties be able to resolve or could this potentially be the end of the road for Okafor’s Law the movie?
While I hope the latter is not the case, I don’t see any of this as a bad thing. I see it as a lesson for the industry. I see it as necessary for growth, I see it as one of those things that may happen from time to time if industry practitioners do not step up their game in the legal department – intellectual property creation and protection is a very dicey business.
So instead of pouring out support or outrage at any of the parties involved, I’d rather both legal teams sit, discuss the facts of the case and come to an amicable solution.
Hopefully I still get to sit in the cinema to consume Okafor’s Law soonest and the poster below doesn’t become a reality.
Correction: We initially insinuated that Jude Idada owned Raconteur Productions and was the plaintiff in this case. Please note that Jude Idada does not own Raconteur Productions and is not the plaintiff in this case. He allegedly wrote the script for Okafor’s Law under contention, but had sold the script to Raconteur Productions who began pre-production before realizing Omoni Oboli’s team had gone ahead to make the film.