Law News
Court adjourns trial of Alaba pirates

A Federal High Court in Lagos has further adjourned till July 9, 10 and 11, 2015 the trial of a gang of four who allegedly pirated an intellectual property belonging to the producer of the popular Nigerian comedy show, Nite of a Thousand Laughs, Mr. Opa Williams.

The trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, who gave the date last week Thursday, expressed displeasure over the snail pace at which the trial had moved since it commenced in 2006.

The Nigerian Copyright Commission, in its charge numbered FHC/L/54c/06, listed one Chuksbiri Venture Limited and Chukwudi Ihe of Alaba International Market, Ojo, Lagos as the first and second accused persons respectively.

According to the commission, the duo allegedly committed the offence in connivance with one John Emidi and one Akpausoh Akpausoh both of the Nigerian Television Authority, who were charged as the third and fourth defendants respectively.

The NCC prosecutor, Douglas Najime, alleged in the charge that the accused persons “made and distributed 10,000 copies of assorted infringing CDs in which copyright subsists in favour of Mr. Opa Williams without the consent or authorisation of the copyright owner.”

Najime said the offence, which was allegedly committed on May 11 and 13, 2005, was contrary to Section 18(1)(a) and (2)(b) of the Copyright Act, Cap.28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

The prosecution further alleged that Emidi and Akpausoh were, on March 13, 2005, caught in possession of three VHS master tapes containing Nite of a Thousand Laughs.

According to the prosecution, the third and fourth accused persons intended to make copies of the 2000 and 2001 versions of the Nite of a Thousand Laughs without the consent or authorisation of Williams who was the copyright owner.

The NCC said they were liable to being punished under Section 18(1) (c) of the Copyright Act Cap. 28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

Idris, while adjourning last week, said the matter would not be struck out but expeditiously tried.

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