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Nollywood IP lawsuit launched

iROKO, a Nigerian entertainment distribution firm, is taking legal action against Afrinolly, a mobile movie app.

iROKO says Afrinolly has been streaming its Nigerian movies and trailers without content distribution authorization from iROKO.

Afrinolly, which has won the African Android app developer challenge, claims almost half a million downloads in under ten months. Earlier this month, MTN announced a partnership with Afrinolly.

iROKO Partners, whose iROKO TV holds rights to over 5,000 Nollywood movies, says it has invested heavily in purchasing the rights to Africa entertainment content. It is claiming over USD600,000 in compensation from Afrinolly, stating that the mobile firm has misrepresented itself to handset manufacturers and telcos.

iROKO also wants Afrinolly to remove all illegally sourced iROKO content from its channels.

Jason Njoku, CEO of iROKO Partners, said: “In an industry that is rife with misrepresentation, piracy and copyright infringement, we are left with no option but to begin legal action against Afrinolly, who have been illegally building their business on our content.

“We spend millions of dollars legally buying and organizing Nigerian content and hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in combating piracy and ensuring movie producers are remunerated properly for their content. It is simply unacceptable for Afrinolly to steal their work and profit from it.

It has caused great harm to our Nigerian-based content providers and has placed great strain on the delicate balance and ecosystem that exists. Afrinolly, since its inception, has never bother to even discuss with us or other content owners and has definitely not remunerated anyone to date.”

“We have been approached by a number of Nollywood producers, who have expressed dismay that their movies are being exploited. As part of our commitment to the lifeblood of the industry, the producers, we see no other means than to seriously consider our options, look at how we can manage the damage done to our reputation and bring this extraordinary mass copyright infringement to a swift conclusion,” he said.

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