The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), has intensified efforts at checking street trading of pirated books, musical works and movies in Abuja FCT and other states of the Federation.
The NCC, by its enabling law, Copyright Act Cap C28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, has the mandate for all copyright matters in Nigeria, including the administration, regulation, promotion, enforcement and prosecution of copyright for the development and protection of creative enterprise nationwide. Currently, the Commission is under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Justice.
In an antipiracy operation in Abuja, recently, the Commission arrested three piracy suspects engaged in street hawking of copyright-protected works at the Eagle Square, Abuja. Those arrested were Abubakar Abdullahi, Emmanuel Onyebuchi and Odushola Arowolo.
Suspected pirated works estimated at two hundred and fifty thousand Naira (N250,000) were also impounded.
Infringing items seized during the operation included copies of various titles of foreign and local authors suspected to be pirated.
One of the street vendors who specialised in unauthorised downloading of musical works and movies into memory sticks and mobile phones was also arrested while attending to some customers. His contrivances were confiscated.
The enforcement operation, which was a follow-up to the recent collaboration between the Commission and the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), was carried out by a team of Copyright Inspectors and officers of Nigeria Police.
The Commission has reiterated its commitment to rid the streets, starting with the FCT, of pirated books and other copyright-protected works.
The Commission indicates that the street raid on vendors of books, music works and movies in Abuja signaled the commencement of a lineup of enforcement interventions at the FCT and other states on a sustainable basis. According to the Commission’s Director of Operations, Mr. Obi Ezeilo, the enforcement drive would be sustained until street trading in copyright works was stamped out.
The arrested suspects who were interrogated at the Commission’s Headquarters were granted administrative bail while investigation continues.