Fast-rising Nigerian author and screenwriter, Tomi Adesina has accused streaming platform, iROKOtv of turning her blog series, “Beautiful Stranger”, which she eventually published as a free E-Book in 2015, into a movie “Swings” on its platform.
The writer, who recently earned an AMVCA nomination for writing “Hakkunde,” called iROKOtv out on Twitter via her handle @tomi_adesina, claiming that the company refused to bring down the movie after her lawyers wrote to them, saying they did not produce the movie.
Adesina however insists that their claim isn’t true as “Swings” opens using iROKOtv montage, a practice that only happen if they either produced, co-produced or sponsored the movie.
On iROKOtv site, the movie is described as a true life story and the screenplay credited to Babatunde Adewale.
Check out her statement:
The month of June started off as depressing due to certain things revolving around my writing career but I thank God that July is starting on a bright note as I got an AMVCA nomination for #Hakkunde. #IrokoTVIPInfringement
June was terrible because of the actions of @irokotv – which I’m about to spill after careful considerations. #IrokoTVIPInfringement
This is a thread on how the “Netflix of Africa” a.k.a Iroko TV (@irokotv) unlawfully & irresponsibly infringed on my copyright, made money from my work & sweat (of course w/o my knowledge, consent or permission) & are bullishly continuing to do so. #IrokoTVIPInfringement
People who follow me already know I am a writer/blogger. This is what puts food on my table & a roof over my head. This is what pays all my bills and keeps me alive. I have no other job or means of livelihood. #IrokoTVIPInfringement
So, sometime in 2014 (5th June – 4th September), I consistently published a fiction series titled “Beautiful Stranger” on my blog, here:
Beautiful StrangerBeautiful Stranger is a fiction series about meeting that one person who opens our eyes to see the radiance and beauty of life. You sure do not wanna miss out on it. Click the links below ©2014 by …https://tomiadesina.wordpress.com/beautiful-stranger-2/
For 12 weeks (about 84 days & nights), I painstakingly wrote 14 episodes of this story for my followers for free. I bled at my table, just to birth the “Beautiful Stranger” series. #IrokoTVIPInfringement
In 2015, due to popular demand from my readers, I published the story as an Ebook at dl.orangedox.com/z6KFmVmsGQ6qXw… and gave it out for free. My aforementioned blog series and E-book are easily accessible by the public. #IrokoTVIPInfringement
Fast forward to sometime in June this year, I received messages from friends & readers of my blog. They were congratulating me on collaborating with @irokotv & turning my story “Beautiful Stranger” into a movie called “Swings”. #IrokoTVIPInfringement
They said they watched the movie on @irokotv YouTube page. I was shocked because I knew I never made “Beautiful Stranger” into a movie & I definitely did not do it with @irokotv. #IrokoTVIPInfringement
I checked Iroko’s YouTube page here:& saw the 30 mins+ video. In the description box, Iroko directed its 900k+ subscribers to watch the complete movie on its app for $20. #IrokoTVIPInfringement
I had to download @irokoTv app & pay the required fee to watch the complete movie. When I was done, I had no doubt that, it was my 2014 blog series that was adapted into a movie & monetized, w/o my consent. #IrokoTVIPInfringement
How did I know it was my blog series that was adapted into a movie? 1st, all the names of major characters in “Beautiful Stranger” are the same as in “Swings”. 2nd, the settings in “Beautiful Stranger” are the same in “Swings”. #IrokoTVIPInfringement
3rd, the plot/storyline in “Beautiful Stranger” is the same as in “Swings” (from beginning to end). 4th, EVEN THE DIALOGUES IN “BEAUTIFUL STRANGER” ARE USED ALMOST WORD FOR WORD IN “Swings”. #IrokoTVIPInfringement
It was like a bunch of actors came together, acted my blog series & then, gave it a different title. They didn’t even change the names of the major characters or tweak the storyline. #IrokoTVIPInfringement
I was shocked to my bones ‘cos I couldn’t believe a brand like @irokotv was profiting from my intellectual property w/o my consent. I then instructed my lawyers to write them to, amongst others, immediately take down the illegal movie from their platforms. #IrokoTVIPInfringement
The least I expected @irokotv to do was comply with this simple request. Surprisingly, rather than take down the movie, @irokotv wrote back with a flimsy excuse, only saying they didn’t produce the movie themselves. #IrokoTVIPInfringement
I write for the movie industry, so I know @irokotv ‘s claim isn’t true as “Swings” opened with their montage. Movie production companies only put their montage if they either produced, co-produced or sponsored/partnered with the movie one way or another. #IrokoTVIPInfringement
There are many movies on @irokotv ‘s different platforms that do not start with their opening montage because IrokoTV did not produce, co-produce or sponsor/partner with the said movies, unlike “Swings”. #IrokoTVIPInfringement
Apart from (co) producing the movie, I know that the distribution, publication and/or commercialization of the illegal movie is in itself, an infringement of my copyright. #IrokoTVIPInfringement
.@IrokoTv could have simply taken down the movie if they had no hand in it, but they chose not to. As I tweet, the movie is still on their app, generating money for them. Iroko are still boldly reaping from my sweat! #IrokoTVIPInfringement
#IrokoTVIPInfringement In @irokotv ‘s letter, they did not deny that:
Of all the stories I have ever written, “Beautiful Stranger” is one that is most dear to me, anyone who knows me can attest that I take cancer themes really seriously. #IrokoTVIPInfringement
I suffered physically & emotionally to write that story for 84 days & nights, so it hurts me so much to see a big international brand like @irokotv reaping from where it did not sow. And doing so very boldly. #IrokoTVIPInfringement
The dream of every writer is to adapt their story into a movie one day & show it to the world. It’s like seeing your story come to life before your eyes. I am no different, but @irokotv has killed this dream as it pertains to “Beautiful Stranger” #IrokoTVIPInfringement
Later, Mr. @JasonNjoku will grant interviews to media houses & investors & construct lengthy medium posts on the magnificent, wondrous things @irokotv is doing. I’m sure he’ll conveniently not list copyright infringement as one of those things. #IrokoTVIPInfringement
I have instructed my lawyers to initiate civil & criminal proceedings against @irokotv& its directors, pursuant to the Copyright Act, 2004. The courts are the last hope of the common man & I have decided to take my chance at justice. #IrokoTVIPInfringement
I hope this serves as a deterrent to other big players in the industry who feel they can trample on the common man & get away with it. I will not be silenced. So help me God. #IrokoTVIPInfringement