In January of this year, I discussed the legal concept of ‘life story rights’ for filmmakers when the family of the late Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh publicly challenged ’93Days’ filmmakers for attempting to share her Ebola story without their consent.
“Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh was the lead physician and endocrinologist at a family clinic in Lagos, Nigeria. She had never seen Ebola before but was able to properly diagnose, contain, and resist pressure to release Nigeria’s index Ebola patient in July 2014. However, because the health system was not prepared for an outbreak at the time, she contracted Ebola and died. Her heroic efforts prevented a major outbreak in the most populous African country and served as the catalyst for government action…” –drasatrust.org
On the issue of life story rights, in pertinent part, I said:
“When you decide to do a movie based on a person’s life story, you will be wise to purchase that person’s life story rights. When you purchase those rights, what you end up with are three key bundle of rights: a) a right protecting you from defamation; b) a right protecting you from an invasion of privacy claim; and c) a right protecting you from a claim of appropriating the image, likeness, voice et. al. without consent…” – Read the full AML archived article: (Analysis) The Ameyo Stella Adadevoh Family v. 93Days Producers #LifeStoryrights Dispute #Ebola.
It’s July 2016 and Ndani TV, an online television platform owned by Guaranty Trust Bank Nigeria, has just completed the first season of its new web series titled ‘Rumor Has It.’ I have watched all nine episodes and I can’t help but note the striking similarities of the life stories of two popular Nigerian personalities.
Specifically, the web series appears to mirror the life of Linda Ikeji, Nigeria’s foremost gossip celebrity blogger, who gossiped her way to the top; but in the past few years has been served with a taste of her own gossip medicine i.e. breaking gossip news and alleged scandals involving her.
The web series also appears to mirror the life of media personality and Nigeria’s foremost vlogger Toke Makinwa. Makinwa’s husband Maje Ayida cheated on her, got his mistress pregnant and traveled to the UK to ensure the delivery of his child with his mistress. When the story broke, it was indeed scandalous. On June 6, 2016, the public received news that Makinwa had commenced divorce proceeding against Ayida.
Ndani’s ‘Rumor Has It’ web series is replete with strong reminders of the stories of these women with slight twists here and there. In Episode 5, it feels very blatant, like I am having Makinwa’s story read right back to me.
If you are a filmmaker, consult with an attorney to ensure you avoid creating unnecessary legal issues in telling stories that may appear to be life stories of people. If you are someone who believes your life story is being told without your consent and/or compensation, you should also consult with an entertainment lawyer. There may or may not be any legal claims against the filmmakers, among others, depending on your facts. In the meantime, watch the series and let me know your thoughts. Are there striking similarities to the lives of these ladies? If yes or no, explain. 🙂
Ep.1 – Celebrity Vlogger, Obi Obi is at the top of her game, known as the Queen of internet gossip, she has made a killing from spreading rumors about celebrities. What could possibly go wrong?
Ep.2-Obi comes to the realisation that she had been played all the while she thought she had a great marriage. Everyone is worried about what Obi could do to herself.
Ep.3-Obi decides to move back home with her parents like her mother advised, and a meeting with Wole’s parents puts any hopes of mending her marriage in jeopardy.
Ep.4-After the drama with Wole’s parents, Obi’s friends, Jennifer and pay her a surprise visit at the office. There’s talk in town about a story leaking soon, how much more can Obi take?
Ep.5-Obi decides to address Wole’s infidelity publicly in a bid to put the entire episode behind her.
Ep.6-Obi goes to confront Wole about the divorce papers his lawyer served her and gets the shock of her life. An unexpected source leaks details from Obi’s personal life.
Ep.7-Wole’s mom causes a scene at Obi’s studio, and Seyi reveals that all things are not as rosy with Arinze as everyone thinks.
Ep.8-David visits Wole to talk to him about his attitude towards Obi. Ranti meets up with Sylvia to talk about Wole’s babymama.
Ep.9-It dawns on Wole that he didn’t have a DNA test done after the birth of his love child with Jumoke. Ranti shows no loyalty to anyone as confidential documents leak on Sylvia’s blog.