The issue of piracy in Nigeria has been much talked about in the entertainment world, which includes the film and music industries. A recent study revealed that eight out of every 10 works in the market are pirated copies. This invariably translates that only 20% of Nigerian artistes get back their money from sales of their materials. This act, which is also a salient form of corruption in the county, has become an impediment to film-makers and the development of arts and has led to the loss of resources by entertainment stakeholders in Nigeria.
Piracy, as used in this article, is the use of works protected by copyright law without permission from the intellectual owner. This goes as far as infringing certain exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work, or to make derivative works.
However, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has shown concern about the activities of pirates and has promised Nigerians that his Ministry would work with the relevant government agencies to tackle copyright infringement. According to Alhaji Lai Mohammed in an interaction with some stakeholders in the movie industry, the government is doing all they can to discourage piracy. The meeting was held to discuss challenges posed by piracy and how to provide lasting solutions. It was well attended by popular Nollywood actors and actresses.
Renowned Nollywood actress and movie director, Joke Silva, once said, during Nigerian Entertainment Conference 2015, that if piracy is not dealt with the way we dealt with fake drugs, an industry will be killed and by so doing, we would have murderers and criminals due to lack of jobs. Many artistes today do not know their rights to the airplay of their music, as well as getting royalties for their works. The industry do not have terms and conditions as regards what is due to artistes for their music. So these pirates, with their headquarters in Alaba market, make billions of naira every year from the sweat of creative individuals who end up poor.
The Minister observed that stealing and sale of intellectual properties such as films, books and paintings are becoming too rampant, as some works are even available for sale before the official release of the original work. The existence of Nigerian Copyright Commission, NCC, has only tried their quota best to sensitize artists about their rights and also threaten pirates but that hasn’t helped much in curbing the act. So the question is “How do Nigerians Stop Piracy”?
1. Create Awareness about Piracy
Sensitizing people about the need for them to stop buying pirated works will go a long way to stop piracy. However, considering the fact that, duplicated CDs, DVDs, books, etc, are cheaper, some reasonable Nigerians will buy into the idea of patronizing original copies of art works.
2. Stop Street Hawking of Intellectual Properties
Majority of pirated DVDs and CDs are sold on the street by vendors who buy off these products at very cheap prices from the pirates. If there are no street hawkers to buy from the pirates, they will have less inspiration to reproduce and that will, in the long run, kill the business. This is one of the most important ways for the authorities to curb piracy.
3. Accountability of Sales
The government should computerize and add a barcode for every sale of entertainment CD’s or DVD’s. Every sale should go into a national database with the government getting a cut on every sale of music, DVD’s, films at the cinema, etc. Every amount sold on any project should be documented and anything made aside the recorded amount should be treated as illegal sales of intellectual property.
4. Use of Holographic Application
The Federal Government can employ the use of the holographic application, also known as security print, to solve the problem of pirating packages in Nigeria. This app has over 17 security features that will make it impossible for pirates to imitate or counterfeit any work.
5. Government Support
The entertainment industry is responsible for boosting Nigeria’s economy by a huge percentage, and if the government can lend their support to help fight piracy, there will be more to benefit.
In a nutshell, piracy is not a threat only to the entertainment industry, but to several other sectors like that of the Fast Moving customer Goods (FMCG). They also face imitation and sales of fake products and all these business killers need to come to an end in order to move Nigerian economy forward.