AS Copyright Commission (NCC) renews its anti-piracy drive for effective copyright protection, four suspected pirates have been arrested and infringing books worth over N2.5 million impounded. Director-General, NCC, Dr. John O. Asein disclosed this at a post-operation media briefing at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday, March 23, 2020. Asein indicated that the commission would intensify its enforcement activities while also sustaining the sensitisation of printers and booksellers on the ills of piracy.
According to him, “We have made a firm resolve that enforcement will be top priority in our intervention programmes. We spent a lot last year enlightening booksellers and educating them on the ills of piracy. However, it appears they are unrepentant. That is why we also will not relent in our anti-piracy drive to send a strong message that it will no longer be business as usual in the book value chain.”
Seizures of suspected pirated books during the raid included Criminal Law in Nigeria by Okonkwo and Naish, The Nigerian Law of Tort by Kodilinye and Aluko, The Lion and the Jewel by Wole Soyinka and Introduction to Nigerian Legal System (2nd Edition) by John O. Asein. Other titles confiscated were Nigerian Law of Contract by Itse Sagay, The Drummer Boy by Cyprian Ekwensi, The Passport of Mallam Ilia by Cyprian Ekwensi, and several other school textbooks.
In the words of the Director-General: “Piracy is cancerous, and we must root it out before it destroys the educational system in Nigeria. It is a serious offence that impoverishes authors, paralyses the business of publishing and destroys the foundation of learning.”
Asein expressed worry that the activities of pirates discourage authors who otherwise would have been producing quality books and contributing significantly to the country’s GDP. He therefore condemned the illicit business of copyright piracy in all sectors of the creative industry and promised the commission’s commitment to bringing succour to authors and publishers.
He charged all booksellers in Wuse Market and other markets in Abuja to stock and sell only original texts or move out of the business as those found to be compromising the copyright system would meet the full wrath of the law. Further assuring that the commission would not relent in its efforts, the Director-General solicited the continued support of the media in the renewed strategic fight against piracy through public enlightenment and prompt reportage of the commission’s enforcement operations.
Asein added that the commission would continue to collaborate with market authorities across Nigeria “to ensure that their markets do not become outlets for pirates and other miscreants in the copyright ecosystem”.
Backed by armed policemen, the anti-piracy raid was coordinated by directors of the commission, including the Director of Operations, Mr. Obi Ezeilo, Director of Finance and Accounts, Mr. Mark Obasi, Director, Administration, Dr. Idowu Ogunkuade and Director, Regulatory, Mr. Augustine Amodu.