Afe Babalola writes Buhari on Change Begins With Me copyright infringement allegation

THE Chambers of Afe Babalola and Co has written a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, complaining of an alleged copyright infringement of Akin Fadeyi’s “Not in my Country” anti-corruption campaign by the “Change Begins With Me” project.

It asked the president to initiate a thorough investigation of the respective positions of the parties in the ultimate interest of the all important war on corruption.

The letter, signed by the Managing Partner of the chambers, Adebayo Adenipekun, further stated that Akin Fadeyi, the creator of the “Not in my Country” project, called the attention of the president to the heated exchange over allegations of copyright infringement and counter-allegations of blackmail between some actors and people privy to the “Not in my country” anti corruption campaign and the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Muhammed.

According to Adenipekun, Fadeyi had kept quiet before now because he is a private businessman genuinely concerned with advancing the Nigerian society by innovative thinking and development projects, adding also that the “Not in my country” project is a product of his life-long vision to do something toward riding the society of the cankerworm of decadence.

The third reason, according to Adenipekun, was the fact that Fadeyi was not ready to sacrifice the noblest of goals on the altar of claiming personal individual rights, especially in a way capable of being bastardised or confused with propaganda, among many other distractions.

He, however, said this did not in any way indicate that Fadeyi would not defend his work and hard-earned intellectual property rights in a court of competent jurisdiction at the appropriate time and was actually waiting for the minister of information to make good his threats to sue him, as he was prepared to answer any summons filed against him.

The chambers explained further that Fadeyi presented a fully developed one minute drama skit model in a proposal to the minister on December 30, 2015 to enlist his cooperation to facilitate the broadcast of his already prepared skits on the nation’s free to air network (Nigeria Television Authority), adding that three of the skits were shown to the minister who was impressed with the project and agreed to partner with it.

He added that Alhaji Lai Muhammed had informed Fadeyi that he was ruminating on an idea and had asked that he reflected the “Change begins with me” idea in his “Not in my country project,” while asking that Fadeyi should go back to location and reshoot the drama skits to reflect the minister’s view as the pay-off line of his videos

Fadeyi said he consequently reshot the videos and sent to the minister’s email as instructed, adding that he got an acknowledgement of the receipt of the material on February 3, 2016.

“Having received our client’s drama materials, the minister held on to them without communicating with our client any further. All attempts to reach and meet with him again were evidently rebuffed. Undaunted, our client reverted to the original skits of the ‘Not in my country’ drama. This was launched publicly to media coverage on May 3, 2016 in a well attended event.

“When on September 8, 2016, the minister launched a drama skit model of the ‘Change begins with me’ campaign, certain persons privy to our client’s project and others who witnessed the protracted exchanges with the minister have made statements and accusations,” the letter said.

Adenipekun explained further that Fadeyi believed that the law and reason would vindicate his narrative over and above any contrary narrative.

He said “if the minister makes good his threat to go to court, which Fadeyi urges him to do, he has a right to come all out to put his defense and whatever steps he takes to defend himself should not be seen as fighting the government.”