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MTN Faces N112.5Bn Suit over Use of Comedy Brand

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Femi Edwards, a content producer who specializes in the business of events productions, promotions and marketing with particular focus on comedy, has dragged telecommunications firm, MTN Nigeria Limited before a Federal High Court in Lagos demanding account of N112.5 billion revenue allegedly generated from the wrongful use of a comedy brand.

 

According to the suit, the plaintiff is accusing MTN of illegally using his comedy content without recourse to him, and generating whooping revenue from the said copyright infringement.

 

Edwards, who is trading under the name and style of Mayphem International, recalled that in 2009, he started a platform that promotes the comedy industry called ‘KomicRELOUDED’ which according to him, was a print magazine widely accepted by the industry.

 

The plaintiff, in the suit with reference number FHC/L/CS/18/18, averred that in the following year, he rebranded to ‘Comedy+’, adding that he had been maintaining the brand ever since with sales outlets across Nigeria.

 

He said leveraging on the success of the brand ‘Comedy+’, he went into the business of organizing comedy shows and concerts throughout the country, and that over the years, the brand ‘Comedy+’ and ‘ComedyPlus’ have come to be associated with him as signifying publications, comedy shows, entertainment and other events produced, promoted or marketed by him or with his collaboration in both physical and digital platforms, print and electronic media, with substantial reputation by the use of same.

 

However, the plaintiff said on March 17, 2017, MTN launched a digital platform tagged ‘Comedy+’ where it advertised the intent to and where it has continued to wrongfully produce, promote, market and pass off comedy shows and other entertainment without recourse to him as the copyright owner of the brand.

 

Edwards said to his surprise, several comedy artists and members of the public had called to congratulate him on the launch of the digital comedy platform of MTN under the belief that he was the person behind it, adding that being a huge commercial enterprise, MTN wrongfully acquired mileage from a popular brand which he created, to launch into the budding comedy sector in Nigeria.

 

He said the comedy industry had been in its developing stages in Nigeria, and that the brand which he struggled to create, was wrongfully leveraged on by MTN to generate a whooping N112.5billion.

 

According to him, “The stand-up comedy industry in Nigeria has been in its developing or budding stages and the brand ‘Comedy+’ which the plaintiff has built, has become synonymous with the promotion of comedy and entertainment in general in the country and has a reputation of being one of the pioneer stand-up comedy, general comedy and general entertainment promotion brands in the country that have helped to build the art of stand-up comedy into an industry.

 

“The defendant has profited from the passing off of the services and the products of the plaintiff in the excess of N112.5billion as presently known to the plaintiff until search, discovery and inspection.”

 

Giving details of how the figure was arrived at, the plaintiff said his ‘Comedy+’ brand was passed off by MTN to its subscribers which number up to 59 million, while from the defendant’s subscription price list, at the cheapest rate of N250 per month, MTN made N112.5 billion in nine months between March to December 2017 with the number of subscribers limited to 50 million and discounting 9 million.

 

Dissatisfied with the development, the plaintiff said he wrote to MTN through his lawyer on September 12, 2017 complaining of the passing off of his brand, and that the company replied on September 18, 2017 promising to look into the complaint.

 

After waiting for some time without response, the plaintiff said he wrote again to the firm, while on October 23, 2017, MTN responded and denied absolutely any liability, but without denying its use of the brand or trade name ‘Comedy+’.

 

The plaintiff, according to the suit filed on his behalf by Chuks Nwachukwu of Indemnity Partners Law Firm, is therefore seeking an injunction restraining MTN whether by itself, servants, agents or otherwise howsoever from producing, promoting or marketing under the brand name ‘Comedy+’ any comedy related or other entertainment shows or content not produced, promoted or marketed by the plaintiff or with his collaboration.

 

The plaintiff also wants an injunction mandating MTN to render account of profits and receipts so far made using the brand ‘Comedy+’, as well as damages for the wrongful use of the brand.

 

Already, the matter has been assigned to Justice Chuka Obiozor who has fixed hearing of an application for interlocutory injunction in the suit against MTN to October 29, 2018.

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NBC Shuts Down Ekiti Broadcasting Stations Indefinitely

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National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), has ordered the immediate shut down of the Ekiti state broadcasting service for infractions of the Nigeria broadcasting Code and the Electoral Act.

 

The Commission took this decision after unauthorized declaration of the governorship election results by Mr. Ayodele Fayose, state Governor on the Ekiti State Broadcasting stations.

 

In addition, the Governor went on air to make malicious and unsubstantiated claims against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Nigerian Police and the Department of Security Services.

 

The station will remain shut down till further notice.

 

The Commission had on Tuesday 5th June queried the station’s, Mr. Lere Olayinka, acting director general who is doubling as the spokesman for the PDP campaign organisation in breach of Section 5.2.18 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code in letters to the Station and the State Government. Both letters were ignored by the recipients.

 

 

Maimuna Jimada, head, Public Affairs, said that the Ekiti State Broadcasting Service on Wednesday 11th July, 2018 was found in breach of sections 5.2.7 and 5.2.8 of the Code for which it was reprimanded and fined N500,000 by the Commission.

 

Jimada, quoted Mal. Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, director general,  as saying that he “wishes to re-emphasize that all broadcasters must adhere strictly to the ethics of the profession in conducting all programmes on their stations in respect to the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, the National Broadcasting Act CAP N11 Laws of the Federation, 2004 and the Electoral Act.

 

For the avoidance of doubt, Kawu hereby draws the attention of all, to the following sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code:

 

3.1.2 which states that:

Materials likely to incite or encourage to the commission of a crime or    lead to public disorder shall not be broadcast

 

5.2.15 which states that:

A broadcaster shall broadcast election results or declaration of the winner only as announced by the authorized electoral officer for the election.

 

Broadcasters are hereby also reminded that the Social Media is not an official source for release of election results.

 

The NBC wishes to reiterate that broadcasting stations must ensure proper gate keeping and professionalism in all programmes transmitted on their stations as the Commission would impose severe sanctions for any breach of the Broadcasting Code.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MTN Foundation Extends Emergency Ward Intervention Project to Hospitals in the South East

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(L-R) Ijeoma Olisa, Accountant, Coscharis Medical, Regina Ewendu, Head of Operations, Coscharis Medical, Enyinnaya Nwokeocha, Project Coordinator Health, MTN Foundation, Izunna Anegbu, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, MTN Foundation and Geraldine Udo, Head of Research and Development, Coscharis Medical at the inspection recently.

In continuation of its commitment to improve the quality of health of our people especially during period of emergency, MTN Foundation will be providing medical equipment and supplies to the emergency wards of six hospitals in Anambra, Ebonyi and Imo States under its Emergency Ward Intervention Project.

 

The hospitals include; Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (FETHA 1), Ebonyi, Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Awka,  Anambra and Imo State University Teaching Hospital (IMSUTH), Owerri.

Under this project, MTN Foundation provides medical equipment and consumables ranging from stethoscopes, suction machines, fracture immobilizers, laryngoscopes; digital patient monitors etc. to hospitals across Nigeria.

 

In Phase 1 of the project, MTN Foundation provided these medical items to emergency wards of hospitals in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.

 

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Kwesé TV, 9mobile Enter Distribution Agreement

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Kwesé TV, Nigeria’s newest satellite pay-TV network, and leading telecommunication company in innovation, 9mobile have signed a distribution agreement for the sale of Kwesé TV decoders through 9mobile Experience Centres across Nigeria.

With this strategic partnership, prospective Kwesé TV customers can easily walk into any participating 9mobile stores and purchase a Kwesé kit comprising a dish, decoder, including one-month free subscription, and installation for N10,960.

This partnership which will be rolled out through a phased approach has been launched in key 9mobile Experience Centres situated at The Palms Shopping Mall, Ikeja City Mall, Adeola Odeku Street on Victoria Island, Mushin, Surulere and Festac Town; all in Lagos.

Kwesé TV offers 70+ premium channels for family viewing with an extensive programming line-up including wholesome children’s programs, live sports, lifestyle shows, movies, series and so much more! Kwesé’s appeal is not only its world-class content but its innovative industry-first ‘pay as you watch’ payment model which gives customers the choice between purchasing 3-day, 7-day and 30-day subscription packages to its full entertainment and sports bouquet.

The partnership with 9mobile will also see 9mobile subscribers access the Kwesé iflix app through exclusive video data bundles for the Kwesé iflix 1-day, 3-day, 7-day and 30-day VIP passes.

Speaking about the partnership, General Manager, Kwesé TV Nigeria, Elizabeth Amkpa, said: “This partnership extends our distribution network and makes our products accessible to even more Nigerian consumers.

We are currently operating in select 9mobile Experience Centres in Lagos, and we will soon be available in other major cities across the country in partnership with 9mobile.”

Also commenting, Vice President, Marketing, 9mobile, Adebisi Idowu, said, “We are excited to be working with Nigeria’s newest pay-TV provider to offer premium TV and video content to our customers.

This newest partnership is a further demonstration of our commitment to continuously deliver innovative services that enable Nigerians to enjoy more, across all our brand touchpoints.”

Adebisi added that 9mobile will continue to forge partnerships and build bridges that enrich the lives of its teeming customers and enable them to enjoy best in class quality of service (QoS) at all times. “9mobile is determined to continue meeting the passion point of Nigerians, especially, customers on the network; and Kwesé TV offers yet another major platform to do so”, he enthused.

9mobile has been acknowledged as Nigeria’s most innovative and customer-friendly telecommunication company, and through its revolutionary fastest data package,

Moreblaze, it has consistently offered its tech-savvy customers functional innovations thereby setting the market pace for competitive offerings in meeting the clients’ wants and needs.

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