..still The Drama Queen!
US Lawyer Mealdred Okwo Threatens, on Twitter, to take Jason Njoku’s IROKO TV to the “Cleaners”
Source: Film LawToday, Mealdred got on twitter and went off on IROKO TV threatening to “take (them) to the cleaners.”
I have a problem with this from every angle I see it.
Here is my problem with her action on twitter:
1. I am unsure what capacity Mealdred is speaking from. If she speaks as a filmmaker, why is she threatening Iroko to take Iroko to the “cleaners?” What gives her the authority to do so? Beyond it being inappropriate to make sure threats, especially on twitter, a fellow professional’s work is allegedly being infringed on; the affected individual can hire a licensed attorney in Nigeria to handle his legal affairs. If Mealdred is licensed so that she can take his matter, I doubt the man who shared his issues with IROKO expected it to be handled the way she has on twitter. Am I missing something?
I am not a fan of Nigerians or anyone for that matter getting on social media attacking/ and or making threats to sue someone else who has wronged them etc. You literally just do it and we see the evidence or you fall back on the noise. I didn’t like it when IROKO did it to Afrinolly and I sure don’t care for it now that Mealdred is doing it to IROKO.
2. If she is speaking in a capacity of an attorney whose client’s work is allegedly being infringed on, then I really have a problem with her conduct on twitter. Keep the private matters of your client private and do what you need to do behind closed doors. Why does the world need to know what your client discussed with you privately??? There are rules about this both in the US and Nigeria (aren’t) there? When you sue, then send a release, or call a press conference, if you are so inclined and let us legal bloggers, journalists, bloggers et al. know what you did.
NOTE: There is no showing that this person is Mealdred’s client or that she has been retained to represent him whether in Nigeria or the USA.
IROKO TV & ALLEGED COPYRIGHT/IP INFRINGEMENT
I am not a fan of IROKO and I have made it unequivocally clear. The allegations by Mealdred are not unusual as I have heard, and also experienced it. I think Jason Njoku saw an issue in Nigeria’s film industry and his service fixed the problem in the market place.
I applaud him and his staff for all of their hard work to even make others realize that there was such a market like IROKO’s. Who did the grunt work before IROKO? Truthfully, no one. After him, everyone wants to come in and claim and also hate his guts for being where he is.
However, I think as a leader, he needs to show he has some form of emotional intelligence and that it is not just about crunching numbers. He also needs a strong legal arm to focus on copyright clearances inhouse and to come up with a system that ensures clearances of all photos, videos, visual arts, images etc. in IROKO.
Further, Jason must show the content providers i.e. Nigeria/Africa’s creative communities that he is committed to the growth of the creative industries, while still keeping his eyes on his bottom line.
I find, in my view, this is sorely lacking and if he continues in this vein, what lies ahead i.e. lawsuits, competitors tuned in to this void, may spell the brand’s demise.
I also acknowledge that this might be something very hard for Jason to do, given information he has shared, in the past, on his blog about his personal upbringing i.e. his hardknock life in the UK. When you have had to figure things out on your own as a young boy and been rejected so many times before success hits, you can become seemingly cold and protective of yourself, which ultimately transfers into your brand.
Our brands/businesses and how we run them reflects our value system as entrepreneurs. You can’t give what you don’t have.
Nevertheless, and despite what IROKO may have allegedly done wrong, Mealdred’s specific threat of taking IROKO “to the cleaners,” on twitter , to me, is inappropriate, especially as a member of the bar and worse if her role is in fact an attorney for this person alleging infringement. It is also especially “off putting” considering Audrey Silva is a potential competitor with IROKO, given its description of services mentioned above.
3. Finally, AML people you all already know this but it bears repeating. Anything you say on social media, especially as a public figure, can be used against you both in a court of public opinion and in a court of law. In a court of law, it can be evidence or showing of libel/defamation etc. You don’t want it out there, keep it on a leash and resolve your issues quietly or hire an attorney to sue for millions of Naira/dollars/pounds and get the media and public buzzing.