World leading distributor of African entertainment, iROKO Partners has slammed a law suit against Afrinolly, a self-styled mobile phone app focused on Nollywood, demanding N100 million naira ($617,000) compensation after accusing the company of “misrepresenting itself with handset manufacturers and telcos.”
According to iROKO Partners, Afrinolly’s app, which is a business model, fashioned to show Nollywood feature films and trailers, was launched without any approval or rights from by iROKO, whose entertainment library is in excess of 5,000 Nollywood movies.
Lagos-based Afrinolly has been streaming Nollywood movies and trailers, exclusive to iROKO Partners, and others, without any authorisation or consent for content distribution.
Commenting on the development, CEO of iROKO Partners Jason Njoku said: “In an industry that is rife with misrepresentation, piracy and copyright infringement, we are left with no option but to begin legal action against Afrinolly, who have been illegally building their business on our content.”
He lamented about the millions of dollars spent in legally purchasing and organizing Nigerian content and the thousands of dollars spent yearly to combat piracy and ensure movie producers are remunerated properly for their content. According to Njoku, “It is simply unacceptable for Afrinolly to steal their work and profit from it”
“Afrinolly, since its inception, has never bothered to even discuss with us or other content owners and has definitely not remunerated anyone to date”, he added
The CEO also disclosed that his company have been approached by a number of Nollywood producers, who expressed dismay at the manner which their movies are being exploited.
iROKO has formally asked the owners of Afrinolly to remove all “illegally sourced content” from iROKO Partners’ platform – YouTube channel – (NollywoodLove) and other owned and operated channels. The company also demanded for a N100 million naira ($617,000) as compensation.
In June this year, iROKOtv, the “Netflix of Africa”, announced that it has recorded over 500,000 registered users in less than six months since its launch. The news came a few months after the company announced that it had secured $8 million in funding from US-based hedge Tiger Global, early investors in Facebook and Zynga.