Stakeholders urge stiffer anti-piracy laws
IN their bid to make right owners benefit more from their works, stakeholders in the copyright sector have called on government both at the federal and state levels for more stringent laws to protect right owners.
This was their unanimous decision at the commemoration of 2015 International Archives Day hosted by the Lagos State Records and Archives Bureau (LASRAB) in Lagos.
In his presentation titled: “Copyright: Interpreting the Law for Archives and Allied Institutions,” Zonal Director, Lagos Zone, Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC), Chris Nkwocha, said the NCC was established to help owners secure the rights to their works, adding that copyright matters could be obtained for works of art, books or any other printed matter, photographs, music, cinematography, or any works of creativity from which one could exact economic benefit.
He said that imported pirated materials, including books, artworks, musicals and cinematography valued at N10 billion stuffed in about 20 containers, has been confiscated in the last five years, stressing that last year alone, the NCC, seized and destroyed pirated works worth N6.5 billion in Lagos State, during over 400 anti-piracy operations. He further said that over 50 convictions were obtained.
Describing pirates as economic saboteurs, Nkwocha said, “Section 38 sub-section 5 of the Nigeria Copyright Law gave copyright inspectors all the rights and powers contained in the Police Act or any other enactments in Nigeria to investigate and prosecute any copyright infringements in the country.”
He explained the agency is trying to amend the existing laws to capture digital piracy, which is more rampant today, stressing that the Commission, would however, not be deterred as the present provisions of the law are still adequate to prosecute offenders and ensure that intellectual material and property owners enjoy the full benefit of their creative effort.
Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Information, Mrs. Oluranti Odutola said consistent with the innovative and trail blazing pattern of the state government, LASRAB, organized the first International Archives Day (IAD) in 2011, thus making the State and the Bureau, the first government institution in Nigeria to host and celebrate the IAD.
She noted that the Bureau has since then, consistently celebrated IAD, except in 2014, when it was cancelled due to the demise of the pioneer Director-General of LASRAB, Mr. Bolaji Uthman, on Friday, June 9, 2014.
he describe archivists or archive operators as custodians of enduring records, who provide necessary data and information as published by creators, preserve and present them on request to researchers and the general public, adding that it is therefore important that they are conversant with the law and comprehend its implication for their profession, especially as it affects the intellectual property rights of persons who created the records and archives inn their custody.
Chairman of the event and Founder, Rhema Foundation and President of Institute of Information Management, Ambassador Oyedotun Oyewole, in his address, called for more stringent anti-piracy laws to make the trade unattractive to people. He described as a criminal anyone who wishes to profit from another person’s efforts, arguing that such saboteurs must be severely sanctioned to serve as deterrent to others.
Describing LASRAB as ‘the society’s memory bank’, the chief counsel in the state’s Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Adebukola Agbanimoja, said archivists must define the extent of their roles in information management in order not to be overtly exposed to infractions that may make them liable for rights abuse.
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