Nigerian writer wins plagiarism lawsuit against Nollywood filmmaker

If I Am President poster
If I Am President poster

Popular Nigerian author, Chuma Nwokolo, has been compensated in a plagiarism lawsuit against a Nollywood filmmaker, Bright Wonder Obasi.

In November 2019, Mr. Nwokolo accused Mr. Obasi of using sections of his short story titled ‘Ten Commandments of Nigerian Politics’ in his (Obasi’s) 2018 film titled ‘If I Am President’.

Released in November 2019, “If I Am President” was a political thriller which featured Nollywood stars Joke Silva, Ayo Ayoola, Rahama Sadau, Ivie Okujaye, and Bryan Okwara.

The film was funded by MacArthur Foundation.

Nwokolo said some scenes in Obasi’s film bore “disturbing similarities” to his book and accused him of using the works without permission or due credit.

The writer highlighted several similarities between his book and the film in an article titled ‘If I Am Plagiarist’ published on his blog.

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He then filed a public complaint and subsequent lawsuit classified ‘Nwokolo v. High Definition Film Studio’ because the filmmaker failed to acknowledge him as the author of the work.

Update

In a new post on his website titled “A Fourth Dimension of Plagiarist,” Nwokolo revealed that his short story was published under a creative commons license.

He said the license allows for the work “to be re-posted and republished in full, for free, without reference to me, so long as I was acknowledged as the author and it was not ‘remixed.’”

Writing further, he revealed that he won the case and has gifted half of the compensation to an intellectual property public awareness project for his creative industries constituency.

He said the beneficiaries would be announced by Obasi and his team in the coming weeks.

Nwokolo also said the film and its three language translations have been amended to give appropriate credits to him.

“I am therefore pleased to announce that all matters contingent to my complaint in my blog post of 1st November has been amicably resolved,” he wrote on his blog.

He also added that Obasi, who is the President of High Definition Film Academy, CEO of High Definition Film Studio, has also issued a formal apology to him.



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