Justice Awogboro Abimbola Olawunmi of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos has finally slammed damages of N5.5 million of Daily Sun Newspaper for copyright infringement on Temitope Akinyemi.
The Judge had since November 2022 reserved judgement on the matter. “Adjourned the matter sine die”, the Court stated.
The legal battle between the plaintiff, Akinyemi and defendant, The Sun was on for over 8 years with the plaintiff demanding N750 million from The Sun Publishing Limited over a copyright violation. The suit was filed by Rockson Igelige for the plaintiff.
The court had adjourned the matter indefinitely without a future date being arranged for judgement.
However, delivery her judgement on Thursday, Justice Awogboro awarded a N5.5 million demand against The Daily Sun for copyright infringement of the photograph of Akinyemi.
In her suit, Akinyemi alleged the unauthorised use of her photograph on Page 3 Cover Girl of The Sun newspaper on May 25, 2016.
Represented by her counsel, R. A. Igelige Esq. of Felix, Igelige & Associates, Akinyemi, among other reliefs, asked the court to award “against the defendant (The Sun) and in favour of the plaintiff (Akinyemi) the sum of N300,000,000 (Three Hundred Million Naira) as general damages; N200,000,000 (Two Hundred Million Naira) as special damages for the derogatory and violation of her moral right in the use of her photograph; and N25,000,000 (Twenty-five Million Naira) as aggravated and punitive damages for the unlawful and flagrant infringement of the plaintiff’s copyright having caused the plaintiff to suffer insults, odium, ridicule and a lowering of her esteem in the eyes of the public, as well as for the emotional distress and trauma that the unlawful, derogatory use of the said photograph inflicted on her.”
Also, Akinyemi prayed for a declaration that “copyright subsists in the plaintiff’s photograph published by the Defendant on page 3 of The Daily Sun newspaper of 25/5/2016, Volume 12, number 3413, bearing the name Sadiyat with the telephone number 09057312447 under the heading SUNGIRL as the said photograph was taken, made and/or produced by the Plaintiff”.
She also asked for a “declaration that the publication of the said photograph in the specified edition or issue of The Daily Sun newspaper of 25/5/2016 without the consent or authorization of the Plaintiff constitutes an infringement of the copyright of the Plaintiff in the said photograph.
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“A declaration that the unauthorized use of the plaintiff`s photograph by the defendant for its commercial benefit without the consent or permission of the plaintiff with a false name and wrong GSM number is wrongful and amounts to derogatory use and violation of the plaintiff’s moral right in the said photograph and also libellous and injurious to her person.
“An order of injunction by this Honourable Court restraining the defendant, its agents, servants, privies, successors-in-title and assigns from further publishing, reproducing, selling, or in any other way using or offering for a fee to its customers the copyright photograph of the plaintiff or any copy of it, without first reaching a contractual agreement with the plaintiff.
“An order of this Honourable Court directing the defendant, its agents, servants, privies, successors-in-title and assigns to deliver to the plaintiff the copy or copies of the said photograph in the defendant’s possession, and to remove or delete it from the website hosting the online or Internet version of The Daily Sun newspaper, and any other order or orders as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make under the circumstances of this case.”