Enforcement Officers of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) in line with the Commission’s Zero Tolerance for Piracy initiative recently embarked on inspection, monitoring and sensitization of literary and Optical Disc Distribution outlets in Abuja.
The exercise was borne out of the need to address and checkmate cases of Copyright infringement following rising complaints by rights owners and the need to ensure that original copyright protected works were sold in the Federal capital Territory.
Director of Enforcement, NCC, Mr. Augustine Amodu who disclosed this in a report in Abuja noted that, the exercise is strategic as it will enable Operatives of the Commission understand the operation mode of dealers and distributors of works and familiarize with their terrain and locations.
Mr. Amodu, driven by the zeal to ensure strategic engagement with stakeholders and effective coverage, structured the copyright Inspectors into two (2) teams for the purpose of the exercise.
Team One led by Barrister Ihuma Okwu Moses (PCO) carried out thorough and detailed inspection of outlets in Garki and Gudu Areas of the FCT while Team Two led by Mr. Chukwuemeka Ngene (PCO) did same in Karu (FCT), Nyanya, Jikwoyi, and Mararaba axis of Nasarawa State respectively.
The teams inspected Schools, Markets and Optical discs outlets within their areas of coverage.
At Garki, team 1 visited two markets and inspected Academy Bookshop, World Chris Bookshop, Bright Mind Bookshop, Kind Link ventures Bookshop, John Bosco Bookshop, Tony Don Bookshop, Chinedu Bookshop, Uncle Rising Bookshop, Mnouka bookshop and Donald Kaga Bookshop,
The team observed substantial quantity of pirated books on display in almost all the Bookshops. The proprietors were sensitized and urged to remove the pirated books from the market and ensure that only original copies of books were found in their shops.
Proprietors of visited Bookshops expressed their appreciation for the exercise as it has awakened their consciousness on the need to embark on legitimate business. They craved the indulgence of the Commission to foster a synergy between Bookshop Proprietors and Publishers to enhance supply of original books.
The proprietors attributed the high incidence of pirated books in the market to the lack of synergy between Booksellers and Publishers who prefer to sell directly to schools leaving them with the option of sourcing their consignment from the available market which might not be legitimate.
On a visit to Area 1 Shopping Centre, Optical disc (CDs/DVDs) stocks inspected were found to be pirated as the sellers took to their heels on citing the copyright inspectors. The Chairman of the Plaza was cautioned against displaying of pirated products for sale as the act will not be tolerated on the next visit of the Inspectors.
Similarly, the Team 2 officials by Chukwuemeka Ngene visited Noble Heights Academy Karu, Aja International Academy Karu, Cherry Field Academy Jikwoyi, Bookshops and Optical Disc dealers in the affected areas.
The team observed that some of the schools visited claimed to purchase textbooks from Publishers but could not present any receipt of purchase from publishers while other sellers could not prove the sources of literary works, optical discs sold to Pupils , Students and general public.
Some of the proprietors were invited to the commission for further inverstigation while others were cautioned and sensitized on the policies and programmes of the Commission against piracy. The officers urged the stakeholders to adhere strictly to the provisions of the Nigerian Copyright laws, CAP C28, LFN, 2004.
Some of the operators and members of the public called for the sustenance of the exercise as it will not only enhance the image of the Commission but also remind pirates of the consequences of their actions.
The exercise generated multiple successes as the officers used the opportunity to gather some intelligence, sensitize operators and the general public and also trigger investigation activities on the sources of literary works distributed by affected schools.
Other Staff of the Enforcement Department who participated in the exercise are Pius Ogunmoroti (PCO), Sylvester Aigbomian (PEO II), Juliet Achugbu (CO I), Charles Anyanwu (SEO), Enotse Ene Onazi (PEO II), Kalu Ndukwe and Jacob Adache the Commission’s Cameraman.