The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) in pursuit of its mandate of strategic engagement with stakeholders and efficient administration of rights, recently enlightened stakeholders of the Commission’s absolute empowerment by law to prosecute pirates with regards to enforcement of Copyright.
This was disclosed by the Director of Enforcement, NCC, Mr. Augustine Amodu during a three (3) day strategic meeting with stakeholders in Ilorin, Kwara State on July 31, 2017.
Mr. Amodu stated this in reaction to the issue of right owners carrying out enforcement activities using the Police without proper authorization from the Commission or knowledge of Copyright Officers.
While emphasizing on the need to fight piracy to the barest minimum in the State, the Director of Enforcement appealed to producers and right owners to desist from illegal duplication of Copyright works.
The meeting which was highly interactive with stakeholders drawn from the Music, Movies Industry, Producers, Performers and CD Sellers provided a forum to differentiate between original CDs and pirated CDs as the Commission calls for more collaboration in the fight against piracy.
Meanwhile, the Director also sensitized the Printers and Book Sellers Association on the provisions of Section 38 sub section 5 of the Copyright Act which empowers the Copyright Inspectors to enter any shop at any reasonable time and inspect any copyright material suspected of being pirated. He called on Printers and Booksellers to involve Copyright Officers in the state before embarking on raids.
On challenges faced by Printers and Booksellers due to high cost of printing and Publishers printing abroad, Mr. Amodu informed the stakeholders of government policy of Public Private Partnership to ease their burden. He further urged the stakeholders to desist from selling pirated books to the public and report any illegal printer engaged in such to the Ilorin office of the Commission.
In a related development, the Director of Enforcement paid courtesy calls on the Commissioner of Police (CP) and Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in the State to strengthen the existing relationship between NCC and the securities agencies.
During the visit to the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Amodu appreciated the Police Force for their support over the years in the fight against piracy while explaining the core mandate of the Commission to the CP. He used the forum to solicit for intensified collaboration against piracy in the State.
He cautioned the Police on the need to guide against Copyright owners who infringe the law by collecting money from sellers of Copyright works such as CDs and DVDs by engaging the Police for back up without the knowledge of Copyright Officers which contravenes Section 25 of the Copyright Act.
The CP promised to assist in the fight against piracy while assuring the Commission of a good working relationship.
Similarly, the visit to the Commandant NSCDC was marked with brief enlightenment on the mandate of the Commission, Intellectual Property generally and explanation on the various types of piracy such as book piracy, software piracy etc and other copyright issues because of the limited knowledge of the Civil Defence Corps on Intellectual Property.
Pledging the support of the Civil Defence Corps in the fight against piracy in the State, the Commandant called for more enlightenment on the activities of the Commission while lamenting the light punishment for pirates of which the Director Enforcement explained that the amendment of the Copyright Act is still in progress.
Highlight of the three (3) day visit was the interactive session with Staff of the Commission at the Ilorin Liaison Office on the way forward. The forum was used to explain further areas of infringement on Copyright and Cable Piracy.
Also in attendance were the Head, Ilorin Office, NCC, Mrs. Akinwunmi J.O; Mr. Ayodele Bello, Mr. Bello B.R; Adedoyin, J.T. and other Staff of the Commission.