15 March 2019

Nigeria: Govt Sues Nigerian Breweries Over Copyrights Violation

The Nigerian Copyright Commission, NCC, has filed a criminal charge against the Nigerian Breweries PLC and its managing director, Johan Anthonie Doyer.

The commission, in charge number FHC/ABJ/CR/163/2017, filed at a federal high court in Abuja, accused the NB Plc and its MD of infringing on copies of a book titled, "The Amstel Factor", a book in which copyright subsist in favour of one Mr Paul Allen Oche.

Apart from the criminal charge, another separate suit has also been filed against the company by a South African firm, D.D.B, Mr. Sampson Oloche and Heineken BV, Netherlands.

The plaintiff, Allen Oche, in the charge and separate suit, exclusively obtained by LEADERSHIP Friday, is praying the court for a declaration that he is the owner of the copyright over the intellectual literary work titled "The Amstel Factor" an Amstel Malta Guide on how to be the best you can be.

In the Writ of Summon with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/145/2019, the plaintiff is also praying the court to declare that he is the only person entitled to grant to the defendants, or any other party, the right to use the intellectual literary work contained in the book titled "The Amstel Factor" or permit the derivative adaptation of the book to be published to the public in any form.

Oche, through his counsel, Mr Paul Ekwueme, prayed the court to declare that the settings, scenes, imageries used in the defendant's "Why Add More?" Amstel Malta brand product campaign constitute an infringement of the his copyright in the corresponding setting, scenes, imageries and even words since the defendants' neither sought nor obtained his authorisation to adapt and publish his intellectual literary work in their "Why Add More?" campaign.

He asked the court to award him N500million as general damages for the unlawful infringement of his intellectual literary work.

Also in addition, he prayed the court for N1billion as aggravated and exemplary damages against the defendants jointly and severally for unlawfully, capriciously, maliciously and contemptuously infringing on his copyright in the intellectual literary work titled "The Amstel Factor" an Amstel Malta Guide on how to be the best you can be.

The two count-charges filed against the company and its MD read, "That you Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr Johan Anthonie DOyer, MD/CEO, Nigerian Breweries Plc both of Nigerian Breweries Plc, on or about the month of August 2015 through September, 2017, within the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court did make or cause to be made for sale, hire or for the purposes of trade or business infringing copies of the book, titled " The Amstel Factor", a book in which copyright subsist in favour of Mr Paul Oche by making an adaptation of it in form of the derivative work which you titled, "Why Add More" Amstel Malta campaign without the consent or authorisation of the copyright owner and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 20(1)(a) of the copyrights act Cap C28 laws of the federation 2004. That you Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr Johan Anthonie Doyer, MD/CEO, Nigerian Breweries Plc both of Nigerian Breweries Plc, on or about the month of August 2015 through September, 2017, within the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court did have in your possession other than for private or domestic use, infringing copies of the book titled "The Amstel Factor", a book in which copyright subsist in favour of Mr Paul Oche by making an adaptation of it in form of the derivative work which you titled "WHY ADD MORE" Amstel Malta campaign (in the form of videos and pictures on your website and facebook page) without the consent or authorisation of the copyright owner and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 20 (2)(c) of the copyrights act Cap C28 laws of the federation 2004.

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