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 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 head quarter 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 sensitive artiste 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”?
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