Director General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Mr. Afam Ezekude has called for greater collaboration in areas of capacity building for the enforcement and prosecution of Intellectual Property (IP) crimes in the country.
The DG, NCC, stated this during an interactive meeting with the Economic Counselor of the United States Embassy in Nigeria, Susan Garro and other officials of the Embassy at the Commission’s headquarter in Abuja on January 18, 2018.
The meeting which was held at the instance of the Economic Counseling Unit of the US Embassy seeks to understudy the workings of IP in Nigeria with respect to Copyright, strengthen existing partnerships to maintain best practices and identify areas of collaboration in the administration, enforcement and prosecution of Copyright infringements in Nigeria.
Mr. Ezekude in his welcome address, highlighted on the achievements of the commission in the past 7 years to include pro-active enforcement and prosecution of Copyright offences; the on-going reform of the Nigerian Copyright Administration; the e-Registration programme, the ratification and depositing of four (4) Instruments of Treaty at WIPO, and the recent approval of the proposed Copyright Bill for deliberation at the National Assembly. He commended the US government for their useful comments which served as a guide in the Proposed Copyright Bill.
The DG stated that Enforcement and Prosecution of infringement cases no doubt pose a lot of challenges and called for support in the area of capacity building.
He said that the Commission in the past enjoyed good partnership in this area from the Embassy but this has not been forthcoming in recent times. He expressed optimism that with the recent ratification of 4 treaties and the renewed collaboration this will be given a top priority.
Mr. Obi Ezeilo, a Director and Head of Lagos Zonal Office, said Nigeria generates and consumes a lot of IP contents which calls for stricter measures and hence the need for capacity building for enforcement officers and prosecutors.
Mr. Ezeilo called for closer collaborations in the identification of foreign works in Nigeria and adequate protection of Nigerian works in the U.S as challenges are being encountered due to non-availability of direct agents on ground for witness or evidence during prosecutions.
He also stressed the need for training of officers in on-line Content Investigation, on-line Piracy and Cybercrimes in general. He stated the need to broaden the scope of collaboration in this area with the U.S Embassy.
Commenting on the areas of collaborations, the Economic Counselor advised on the need to identify sources of funding and to collaborate with donor agencies of which the DG, NCC noted.
Responding to the call for collaboration in the area of capacity building, the Regional Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordinator of the Embassy (IPLEAC), Tanya Hill informed the meeting of the upcoming Capacity Building Trainings on Cyber crimes in Nigeria and Ghana but felt that it may be too late to incorporate officers of the Commission into the training programme.
The DG, NCC, appreciated the willingness of the Embassy to train our officers and asked that the trainings be tailored to the prevailing needs of Enforcement and Prosecutions in the Commission.
Kate Kaetzer Hodson, an Economic Officer with the Embassy, while commending the Commission for the ratification of the treaty said it was a monumental undertaking.
Ms Hodson as part of the collaboration indicated their willingness to support the April 26 WIPO day celebrations by the commission.
In the same vein the Embassy is interested in collaborating with the Commission in the area of Outreach Programme to enhance Copyright knowledge and consequently an agreement was reached to send a Concept Note to the Embassy to this effect.
Highlight of the interactive meeting was a presentation of activity reports of the Commission spanning over 7 years to the visitors and group snapshots.
Others in attendance are Director, PRS, NCC, Mr. Bitrus Dauda; NCC Director, Regulatory, Mr. Mike Akpan; Assistant Director Public Affairs, NCC, Mrs. Ijeoma Egbunike; P.A to the DG, NCC, Mr. Collins Nweke and Odume Linda an Admin Assistant from the U.S Embassy.
For: Director General