Linda Ikeji’s Copyright Debacle

Nigeria’s most successful blogger, Linda Ikeji, is under fire.

She’s severally been accused of plagiarism which is defined as “the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own“. In fact, Linda seems to be mostly guilty of taking content from another source without permission or attribution. Most recently, a certain @MrAyeDee accused her of using tweets and images he posted and using them on her blog without permission or attribution.

Linda Ikeji Range RoverLinda’s success is phenomenal. After 8 years of blogging, she has become a poster child for digital success – a self-made woman who rose from rags to riches with the aid of determination and the internet. She recently caused a minor uproar when she celebrated her birthday by posting pictures of her brand new Range Rover . Linda is a bit of a wunderkind in the Nigerian context – a single woman who achieved success without any obvious patronage from the establishment.

Yet, questions continue to trail her operations – one of the most critical being allegations of plagiarism from local and international sites. As we said earlier, the source in question in this case is an individual who tweets under the handle @MrAyeDee about security affairs in Nigeria, especially on the insurgency raging in the North-East of the country.

He told TechCabal that he noticed tweets and pictures being used on Linda Ikeji’s blog from around the end of September. Once he noticed this, he attempted to contact Linda through the email address on her site before using Twitter to reach out to her. He claims that the blog has used his content in between 7-8 stories, but only made DMCA Takedown requests for 3. They have since been taken down. He claims that has not been able to make any direct contact with Linda.

As the controversy raged on Twitter, Uduak Oduok, a US-based lawyer who frequently comments on entertainment issues, revealed that the owner of the domain on @MrAyeDee’s Twitter profile – 15past8.com – also owns LindaIkeji.net, suggesting that the two had a history and that perhaps, Alexander was guilty of domain squatting and perhaps to trying to extort Ms Ikeji.

Our investigation revealed that indeed, the domains were owned by the same person – Emmanuel Efremov. Alexander confirmed that his company – 15 Past 8 Media – had acquired the LindaIkeji.net domain name, but he was not privy to the details of his company’s domain operations. He however insisted that they acquired the domain for Linda and have made no money from it since registration. Our search confirmed that the domain has redirected to Linda’s blog practically since registration.

We have reached out to Linda Ikeji for comment but have yet to reach her.  We will update this story as soon as we get a response.

 

Is Using Tweets in a Story Plagiarism?

One of the questions that has bugged me the most is whether it’s illegal to utilize another person’s tweets in a story.  I’m not sure the answer to that question is “yes”.  Here’s Forbes and Mashable using tweets and pictures from a user’s Twitter account to explain a story about the Osama Bin Laden raid.  Some have argued that the proper way to use tweets is to use the embed function (that’s what we use on TechCabal) but even Forbes sometimes uses screenshots.

 

What Next for Linda?

So where does that leave one of Nigeria’s biggest content businesses? Linda Ikeji has obviously been a victim of her success. She has built a remarkable audience and generated lots of value as a result, proving that digital content is a viable business. As a result, she’s got the attention of the public – scrutiny was inevitable.

Linda’s business model is predicated on ridiculously low overheads – she keeps a lean staff and ensures that her content acquisition costs are low.  It is inconceivable that these attacks will reduce – and Linda might have to invest in building her content creation team, thereby thinning her margins in the long run.  She might also have to invest in acquiring her domains – which are owned by a bunch of people from Jonathan Santos (LindaIkeji.com), Tosin Odunfa (LindaIkeji.ng), Twinpine Advertising (LindaIkeji.mobi) and 15 Past 8 Media (LindaIkeji.net).  Hosting a site that some estimate delivers 500,000 page views a day will also not be cheap.

But Linda is not a stupid person by any stretch of the imagination.  She’s navigated the digital media landscape rather astutely, and private conversations have shown that, as long as she hasn’t lost her edge, she should be able to leverage this crisis to take her business to the next level.

We await.

36 Comments

  • Onyeka A. says:

    She should take a tip from ohnotheydidnt, which, I admit is my crack. They’re her US equivalent, very few original articles, hundreds of comments per post and insane page views. They do one simple thing: They post the source link of all their posts. And if the post is really long, they only post snippets and add some commentary. Even if its just a youtube video. Sure, some self respecting sites have banned them from posting their stuff, but others see it for what it is: Referrals. No lawsuits, no drama. Its really not hard to stay out of trouble.

  • bobolaakinola says:

    I’m not sure she’ll come out of this. She has unlicensed content from Getty Images, AP, AFP, DailyMail UK, Hello Magazine and many more (very many). These guys have resources to chase a case to the ends of the earth. And as Uduak Oduok said, she’s personally liable since she didn’t incorporate her business.

    I do hope she stopped taking people’s content (She still took pictures from the Daily Mail UK website despite their strict copyright rules). Here: The Pictures showing Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho shoving each other http://lindaikeji.blogspot.com/2014/10/lmao-see-moment-arsene-wenger-pushed.html

    • plastiq says:

      The question is this: how many of the foreign heavyweights are willing to clamp down on her? Do they even know she exists? She will be fine, forget her blogspot, Linda is smart…she would have registered different domains by now and started backing up her posts.

      Even though she assumes she will just miraculously get back her Alexa ranking and all…brand managers dont understand jack shit about digital marketing so the cash wont stop flowing.

      • Guest says:

        the AMA Sports Photo Agency has noticed and are moving to clamp down on her ( http://www.amasportsphotoagency.com/ ) . I’ve attached an image of the tweets acknowledging this (Tweets are property of @seunfakze, @stanwalka and @AMASportsphoto )

      • bobolaakinola says:

        the AMA Sports Photo Agency has noticed and are moving to clamp down on her ( http://www.amasportsphotoagenc… ) . Tweet: https://twitter.com/seunfakze/status/519051033725915136

        • AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY says:

          It is unfortunate that we are writing this.

          We are a soccer based photo agency in the UK. We provide images to
          newspapers and magazines and also many football clubs in the UK and
          throughout the world.

          To gain accreditation to cover the English
          Barclays Premier League, we firstly have to pay a sum to cover in the UK
          what is called Public Liability Insurance. We also have to pay huge UK
          tax on our earnings. Secondly, the photographic equipment that we use is
          highly expensive and the best on planet earth.

          We find it
          inexcusable when people who should know better, take images and simply
          republish them without any remorse or compassion.

          Our
          photographers are highly skilled and it takes an incredible amount of
          energy and time to accomplish the standards that require to compete in a
          very strong market.

          Now, if Linda had of been an enthusiastic 8
          year old who loves football and wanted to simply celebrate English
          football in Nigeria then perhaps we would show more compassion in our hearts over this matter, but quite simply, Linda appears to be a well
          respected and high earning blogger.

          We find her actions of taking
          material from an English Daily Newspaper and then republishing it in order to make
          an income for herself outrageous and inexcusable. We don’t know what the belief is in Africa, but in Europe theft is not tolerated. People may say it is only a picture, but that picture is OURS, we created it, it is our product. Do people go around stealing bread make by a baker? After all its only a loaf of bread? It is obviously
          evident through the amount of advertisements on her site and what I have
          since read about her that she earns a massive income from this.

          Equally,
          there is no excuse in her actions. The Daily Mail newspaper printed a
          credit on the photograph, which she then uploaded to her blog
          (re-published) without any prior contact to our agency. A simple email
          would have resulted in a friendly reply to which we would have granted
          authorisation for her to use the image for a nominal fee.

          Since
          the blog publication, she has failed to respond to any of our messages.
          This indicates a severe lack of professionalism to a fellow journalist
          and shows nothing but contempt towards us as a photo agency producing
          this material and her seeming belief that she can simply take what she
          wants and use it for profit (using her mass advertising on her site) for
          the many thousands of her dedicated readers to view.

          We have nothing personal against individuals who have massive enterprise
          or indeed the people of Nigeria. We have been to Lagos on two occasions
          whilst covering the Super Eagles and have personally covered fixtures of
          the Nigerian National Football team on continents through out the
          world. The majority of Nigerian people are seemingly hard working,
          honest individuals with high religious morals.

          Perhaps the Nigerian people need to question and value their worth. Authors write books, Musicians create music, Photographers produce pictures, Land Rover produce nice vehicles. Farmers produce cows which we eat steak from.

          We hope that this matter is dealt with in a
          thorough manner and that Linda understands the morals, international
          copyright law and sees the errors of her ways. We wish Linda all the
          best in her journal writings, however, like most people, we do not
          tolerate theft be it in normal day to day life or indeed on the internet
          and as mentioned.

          It appears that she is sticking her middle finger up to us and every other English and USA newspaper that she steals from thinking she is above the law. No one actually wants to close down her website, but that is what sadly happens when repeat offenders are caught. Her blog with regards to this is just laughable, she just tells people what they want to hear and makes out she is so innocent and for people to feel sorry for her. This is not journalism. This is propaganda. It is also libel in the UK to state that a company steals from another. The Daily Mail is a well respected newspaper, unlike certain Nigerians, it PAYS for its content and DOES NOT STEAL.

        • AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY says:

          it IS nonsense yes. We certainly hope that you were not patronising us, indeed we have contacted Linda, but unfortunately she has decided NOT to respond to tweets, calls and emails.

          • Terry says:

            Oga AMA Sports Photo Agency: Please ask Google to take down your photo from Linda Ikeji’s blog. I believe it is one post out of 10s of thousands that she has. So we can all rest.

            Alternatively, tell me how much your fee is, let me find a way to tell her wildest fan to get her to pay. So that this matter can end.

            You are sounding like a bad belle person right now. You obviously have racists tendencies. Thousands of sites steal Daily Mail content and your content everyday including sites and blogs in YOUR COUNTRY. Most don’t even bother to credit Daily Mail. You have not gone to fight them.

            You seem to be on Linda’s case because you can’t believe how an African woman can make so much money from an internet business and live well, as it were. It is only people in your country that should drive a Range Rover. Linda is meant to use a run-down motorcycle to work on a dirt road, so you can celebrate your false sense of superiority.

            So, nobody is saying Linda should not pay you or acknowledge her sources. What people are saying is that is not enough for you to want to shut her down. PERIOD!

    • Terry says:

      I repeat, your vendatta against Linda Ikeji is because she is not from your tribe. PERIOD! You are one who never sees anything wrong with anyone in your tribe does because you have only one standard or measurement – YORUBA. I challenge you to show me one critical comment you posted against Obasanjo in all his failings. Point us to a link…. Or anything critical you have said in the last 6 months against a fellow Yoruba.

      This is the issue we must face… Again, you side-stepped my question. Did any of those names you threw around tell you they have issues with Linda and she doesn’t have a license? Are you Linda’s lawyer? What is your problem?

      You have so many Yorubas running blogs and stealing content. Go and face them first. LOSER!

  • Nana Mensah says:

    Before y’all start posting this and posting that..she has responded to the allegations and it appears some creep is just basically tryna pull her thingy (blog) down. Bad, jealous folks are out there people so maybe good for her to pipe low a bit esp with personal acquisitions..

    • bobolaakinola says:

      And you believe her. Lol. In two days she has posted unlicensed stuff from about 6 online publications. So its not about him anymore, those content owners are coming after her as well.
      The internet transcends borders so there’s nowhere to hide.

      • TestifyTruth says:

        “…and not from your tribe… I think you Yoruba losers need to take a chill pill.”

        Sigh.

      • Ch says:

        Honestly I find it very offensive when myopic people like you make everything about tribe. Nigerians regardless of tribe read Linda’s blog or you think she made her money from just the Eastern tribe readers? Is intellectual theft or theft in general a thing of tribe? No, but then maybe it is cos Ibo pple tend to make a copy of everything that is not theirs, no originality. Please stop this tribal nonsense, plagiarism is a big offence and if she has chosen this line of business to make her money, then she needs to abide by the ethics that run it. Nigeria is not above or below the copyright law, we are still a part of this world. Inasmuch as the big names like Getty images may not come after her, it still doesn’t give her the right to use their content without authorisation. That is why she has a brain and can employ pple to source her own content. I noticed the article writer said that she hasn’t studied abroad, so I can pardon
        her ignorance for not knowing that this is a serious offence. I didn’t know about plagiarism until I travelled for my masters as well and it was presented as a whole 2hours seminar before the start of the program.

        • AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY says:

          Please STOP this nonsense. It does not matter if someone is yellow, pink, black, white or whatever. It does not matter where they come from. We all live on this planet together and need to be dignified, compassionate and understanding. Different cultures result in different belief systems but to call people silly Nigerians is as beneficial as calling Japanese, English or Americans silly too. In the UK we call it Copyright. If you produce a drawing, a piece of art, an article etc it is protected under the copyright law. This means no one can reproduce your work. Equally companies TRADE MARK their goods and PATIENT their designs. This protects the people who have designed things to stop people copying them.

        • Udoo says:

          But you have the tribal nonsense too. Instead of addressing the guy, you somehow managed to drag all IGBO people into it. Shame.

      • Ola says:

        Mr Terry, I have been reading all your comments and replies on this post, and while I found them myopic (not all, a few were only below average), I merely attributed your defending plagiarism and an unremorseful plagiarist to ignorance, and I simply assumed it is your God given right to have a different point of view and express yourself as you see fit; but REALLY! As a fellow human why would you embarass me and all other readers by descending so low as to reducing this to a tribal one and revealing you’re incapable of carrying out a basic discourse. Your parents should get a refund on the school fees they paid on your behalf as the only skill you apparently gained from school was arranging the alphabets to form words. I only hope you are never in a position of power in this country, else it is finished for this country.

  • Terry says:

    I expect the first thing would be to find out who this nameless and faceless Mr. Aye Dee on Twitter is. Who is he? If you want to fight someone, come out and show your face and your name. This report fails to do that. Before you legitamize the attack on Linda, make sure its not a masquerade doing it.

    It is only in Nigeria that people will run to town with stories without first establishing the source of the attacks. WHo is this Aye DEE guy? What is his legal name? Where is he operating from? And what is his relationship with Linda Ikeji.

    Unless Linda lifts people’s stories without indicating the source, then she is not guilty of plagiarism and certainly, using tweets in a story – screenshot or embedded – is NEVER plagiarism. If you don’t want your tweets in a story, don’t tweet them or make your tweets private so Linda can’t see them.

    This thing is joblessness.

    • AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY says:

      Sorry my friend, so basically you are saying it is OK for someone to use their skill, dedication and produce material which in their own country they get a fee for when it is published in a national newspaper. And then it is OK to steal that piece of work for her own gain – ie republish it for others to see and gain an income with advertisements?

      • Okeke Vincent says:

        Please tell him. Nice one MA SPORTS. In our country, most people don’t take plagiarism serious.

      • Terry says:

        AMA Sports or whoever your name is. From all indication, I have a real job and a life. Where is my above comment did I say it was okay to use your photos without payment? It appears your NOW FAILED vendetta against Linda Ikeja has failed as Google saw through your silliness and restored her blog.

        Having said that… Twitter permits people to embed tweets in their stories. If Linda used your TWEET to tell her story, she did nothing wrong.

        If she used your photo without permission… stop acting like an ass and have your lawyers write her. How much can the fee be? $50 a pop? That will not ruin Linda. If she does not reply in good time, tell Google to take down YOUR PHOTO. You have no right to take down her entire blog which may have 1 or 2 of your photos, a blog which has 1000s of her original stories and photos used with permission of owners and those she paid photographers to take for her.

        Nigeria appears to be the only country where ignorant foreigners will come to our sites and spew their rubbish and fellow Nigerians like Okeke Vincent will be cheering them on because poverty has entered their bloodstream, they are ill-educated and they practice black destructive witchcraft.

        Which of us becomes richer when Linda Ikeji’s blog is taken down? Losers!

  • TestifyTruth says:

    “…a single woman who achieved success without any obvious patronage from the establishment.”

    What is this establishment?

  • chika uwazie says:

    I do not agree with the notion that she is a savvy business woman. If she was she would of put her house in order before showing off a new range rover. It’s funny that as soon as she shows off the real type of money she is making people come for her left and right. I have tried to be a fan of Linda but I never can because to me I think she was just someone who lucked out on the gossip blog scene in Nigeria. Even if you are a gossip blog you should verify your stories, even major gossip blogs such as TMZ and Perez Hilton do this. Linda has careleslessly posted stories of people without verifying an yfacts hence ruining lives all in the name of gossip and her ratings. She is also very unprofessional and it seems that as she grows the unprofessionalism grows. I think Linda needs to take a step back to think of a concrete startegy in order for her to move forward before her “empire” crumbles. The evidence on Uduak blog proves that she has a lot of in house cleaning she needs to tend to.

  • Don Cyber says:

    Google’s Action on Linda Ikeji’s Blog http://www.techrado.com/googles-action-on-linda-ikejis-blog/ via @techrado

  • Bar Baric says:

    This is my first time of logging on to Tech Cabal, and reading this article, I was wondering all through, if this was the Tech Cabal I’d heard about. I really am ashamed of what young Nigerians have brought themselves to.

    Dear Mr Taylor, this article wholly summarizes your mindset as a human being, and I congratulate you for this great expose, you shall be judged by it.

    • Nelly Nwandu says:

      I see nothing wrong with TechCabal’s reportage. And stop taking a swipe on all Nigerians as if you are any better.

      • Terry says:

        Help, me tell him Nelly Nwandu. I don’t even understand who this Bar Baric is and why he thinks he can talk down on all young Nigerians. What is his contribution to humanity before he posted this sanctimonious comment on Nigeria’s leading tech blog that he has never heard of till today.

  • The blog has eventually been deleted by Google. I just hope she recover it back in time and bounce back. She shouldn’t have come out to report this until she has blocked and corrected all the loopholes they reported about her. IT proffesionals knows how to work around things against someone that is not that techy.

    Thanks for the report.

  • Nelly Nwandu says:

    How can she make such fortunes and invest only in luxurious liabilities and not invested in a self-hosted site is ridiculous.

  • Stella Anokam says:

    One thing that may have caused the LIB take-down is the site going against blogspot’s Terms of Use. Sites on blogspot are not allowed to put adverts beside adsense. In the international scene, Google is known to take down sites overnight simply because they put adverts. So, it’s always advised not to use blogspot if you want to blog for profit – because it goes against their ToS. WordPress.com’s ToS is also like that. Business-based blogs are advised to host their own sites.

  • Terry says:

    So, after all the Linda-Is-Finished celebrations… Google find your ignorant hate for what it was in less than 48 hours and restored Linda Ikeji’s Blog.

Comments are closed.