A toddler, Miss Faria Aouad, has filed a N200 million privacy and copyright infringement suit against Unilever Nigeria Plc and two others over the alleged unauthorised use of her photo and alteration of her name in the company’s promotional competition.
The suit before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos was filed through her parents, Mr Fouad Aouad and Mrs Chinwendu Aouad, who are the second and third plaintiffs.
Unilever Nigeria Plc, Wild Fusion Limited, and one Mrs Anjorin (A.K.A Mummy Pelumi) are the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants in the suit.
Miss Aouad averred that the defendants, for advertising and commercial purposes, took and made unauthorised use of her photo which her mother, the 2nd plaintiff posted on her Instagram account on September 29, 2017.
The said photo was entered in Unilever’s Independence Day Promotional competition known as the “Pears Best Dressed” or “#PearsBestDressed” on social media platforms of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter between September 30, 2017 and October 2, 2017.
The plaintiffs closed their case on February 20, 2022. At the last adjourned date of the suit, September 29, 2022, the defendants opened their case before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke.
The court had, meanwhile, adjourned proceedings till January 17 and 18, 2023, to enable the plaintiffs’ counsel to cross-examine the 1st defendant’s witness.
The plaintiffs were represented by Kelechukwu Okwujiako, while Charles Bassey was 1st defendant’s counsel.
The plaintiffs’ claims against the defendants include: A declaration that Aouad’s dad is the lawful owner and proprietor of the copyright in the photograph, which was taken by him using skill, judgment and effort;
*A declaration that the use and publication of the photograph on social media without Aouad’s dad’s consent infringes the copyright in the photo;
*A declaration that the 1st and 2nd defendants “were negligent and/or failed to exercise reasonable care and due diligence” in the manner they conducted the Pears Best Dressed promotional competition” wherein Aouad’s photo that was taken by her dad was selected as the winner of the competition;
*A declaration that the publication by the Defendants of her photo for commercial purposes without the authorization of her parents constituted a breach of her fundamental right to privacy and family life.