Federal High Court Convicts Optical Disc Pirate in Lagos

23 February 2017

A Federal High Court on February 14, 2017 sentenced an accused pirate Mr. Donatus Daniel Madu to one year imprisonment on a two count charge of exposing, offering for sale and being in possession of infringing copies of cinematographic works other than for private use.

This constitutes an offence under Section 20 (2)(a) and Section 20 (2) (c) of the Copyright Act Cap C28 of the Copyright, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. The case started afresh before Justice O.O. Oguntoyibo after Justice Ajumogobia was transferred out of jurisdiction.

The accused was sentenced after he pleaded guilty to both counts as stated on the charge sheet as the prosecution was able to tender through its witness several documentary evidence and all the infringing copies of film works seized from the accused.

The sentence term is to run concurrently as indicated in the charge number FHC/L/40C/2015; NCC Vs Donatus Daniel Madu presided over by Justice O.O. Oguntoyinbo.

Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) through its Counsel, M. A. Anabor (Mrs) had earlier filed a two (2) count charge against Donatus Madu at the Federal High Court Lagos.

Before delivering the judgment, the prosecution has prayed the court to convict the accused person based on his admission of guilt, the witness testimony and all the documentary and real evidence tendered in the matter in line with the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 and the Copyright Act Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

The accused has earlier been arrested and charged to court and granted bail and was unable to fulfill the terms of the bail and consequently has been in detention for eleven months before the judgment was delivered.

Charges were instituted in court by the Commission against Donatus Madu following an anti-piracy raid conducted by enforcement officers of Nigerian Copyright Commission at Alaba International Market and Trade Fair Complex in Lagos State leading to the arrest of the accused.

In the raid carried out on February 9th 2017, four hundred and twenty nine (429) copies of cinematographic works in which copyright subsist in favour of G-Media Distribution, Olasco Films Nigeria Ltd. Arise Films &Music Ltd. Works like ‘Tango with me’, ‘Onyi Ozi’, ‘Mr & Mrs’, ‘Omo Gaga’ ‘Tapa Titan’….etc were seized as exhibits from the accused.

During the post raid inspection, The Secretary-General of the Yoruba Video Films and Producers/Marketers Association of Nigeria was invited for inspection of the seized works, and he gave confirmation of the works as infringing copies.

 The raid was carried out following complaints received from Chief Gabriel Onyi Okoye of G-Media Distribution (Gaboski) that several copies of his cinematographic works were being pirated and sold at Alaba International Market and Trade Fair Complex in Lagos State.



Amos Abutu

For: Director-General

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