When AVRS gave fight against piracy a lift

PHOTO: VOA News

Many do not take enough time to think about ways in which innovation has improved the quality of lives today. However, comparing today’s world and that of 100 years ago, no doubt, there is an extraordinary transformation in the quality of lives, thanks to the introduction of countless new and improved technologies and products.

Only few ages have done better than this age in terms of innovations. Within the span of a century, the world has evolved from a manual age into an automated one. There have been great innovations.

According to World Intellectual Property Oganisation (WIPO), these innovations take myriad forms, from new medicines and materials to improved crop varieties and communications, innovation is making lives healthier, safer, and more comfortable: A billboard in Peru that harvests water from the air, supplying the local community with clean drinking water; a 3D-printer at an American university that regenerates damaged human tissue; a mobile money transfer and micro financing service from Kenya, renewable energy solutions that power fridges in rural India; a grapheme battery from China that charges a mobile phone in minutes; cutting-edge assistive technologies from the Russian Federation to help people with disabilities perform everyday tasks.

And with extraordinary new technologies such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, neuromorphic computer chips, nanotechnology, robotics, CRISPR gene-editing and more coming on stream, the prospects for further progress are very bright.

With Innovation – Improving Lives as theme, many wondered, what does intellectual property have to do with all of this?

The actress Hilda Dokubo captured the essence, when she asked, “what is the property that has brought us here today? In my hand is a CD; it is a property. That is because it belongs to somebody, it is someone’s investment. It is somebody’s life and wealth. It can lead to someone being alive or killed.”

Every April 26, the world celebrates intellectual property so as to learn about the role that intellectual property rights (patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyright) play in encouraging innovation and creativity.

This edition celebrated the creative force in totality: how some of the world’s most extraordinary innovations have improved lives and how new ideas are helping tackle shared global challenges, such as climate change, health, poverty and the need to feed an ever-expanding population.

In Nigeria, the intellectual property system does not support innovation, as it doesn’t attract investment, nor does it reward creators, encourage them to develop their ideas, and ensure that their new knowledge is freely available so that tomorrow’s innovators can build on today’s new technology. Though, the system develops talent and creativity, it excludes regards for intellectual property in its dealings.

The Audio Visual Rights Society of Nigeria, which is at the heart of the campaign against piracy in the country, led by Bond Emeruwa, the chairman of society and some leading Nigerian arts and entertainment practitioners, took the celebrations to Alaba market.

While saying, “the greatest innovation of recent times remains Nollywood: A gentle fusion of technology and the African art of storytelling. Making it possible for a simple campfire story to be seen and heard across nations. Informing, educating, fostering unity, peace, love and most of all, entertaining,” Bond stressed the need to shun piracy and embrace creativity.

He added, “AVRS as a body solely authorised to collect rights on cinematography works is working to ensure entertainers; filmmakers live a good life off the proceeds of their labour.”

Bond further said works are ongoing to ensure government enacts more laws, as it’s high time Nigerian creatives enjoyed from their sweat with no inhibition or hindrance.

Dokubo berated pirates of creative works, mostly movies and music saying they are worst than serial rapists. The actress said that pirates have made the entertainment industry unattractive for intending and potential investors.

“They have left us in a state of comatose as practitioners. I say it loud and clear that if you pirate, duplicate to sell our works after several days and months of hardwork that we have put in just to reap from where you did not sow, you are a rapist and an armed robber.

“Every time you replicate our movies to sell to your own advantage thinking you are smart or no one sees you, you are serially raping us and make our business unattractive for intending and potential investors,” Dokubo said.

She added, “we are all looking for international partners and treaties, so for those who pirate our work, they will kill those treaties and investment. So, you are keeping partners away from us. This market is big enough to accommodate all of us, if we all agree to work together. I will tell you how this stealing works; because all of you will say you do not pirate.”

Dokubo urged pirates to help build the movie industry by getting officially involved as either investors or wholesalers or retailers.

She also urged top marketers and traders to checkmate the activities of pirates by bringing them to justice or informing the security operatives over their illegal and illicit trade.

In his response, chairman of the Amalgamation of Alaba Associations, Prince Emeka Mozoba noted that he has always been in support of earning from where one has sowed, hence he will continue in his stride to rid Alaba off pirates.

Mozoba also reiterated that during his administration, pirates have been publicly nabbed and sent out of the market and handed over to police but he understands that his men will have to intensify their efforts.

Reechoing the feelings of industry watchers and stakeholders, Mozoba believe that government should encourage more firms that are into innovative ideas, including foreign agencies. More importantly, the fight against corruption should be given more bite. He pointed, “corruption is like a bug, and it has gone deep in every sector of Nigeria’s economy, the officials that are placed in-charge of allocating funds that are used in building and developing the sectors, use the funds for their own selfish interest and gains, this leads to poor distribution networks of these products, and high cost of the original copies of these CDs.”

In this article:
AVRSHilda DokuboWIPO


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