Nigerian government plans clampdown on online piracy


Nigerian government plans clampdown on online piracy

Afam Ezekude (centre) NNC director general, speaks at a consultative forum in capital city Abuja. Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) / -

The Nigerian Government has said it is seeking to introduce new legislation to curb online piracy in the country.

Afam Ezekude, director general of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), says the government has been canvassing opinion and will be taking advice on how to tackle digital and Internet piracy and will be partnering search engine Google.

According to news website The Guardian Nigeria, Ezekude said the NCC would be working on a draft bill to better prosecute online copyright offenders and that arrangements have been finalised to introduce an e-registration system to enable IP owners register works online.

“Nigeria needs a law that would be in line with the digital age; we have concluded plans to build appropriate infrastructure to tackle Internet piracy through online tracking. Piracy kills creativity and it persists due to inability to enforce copyright laws,” he said.

However, Ighiwi Erhahon, associate in the IP department at Aluko & Oyebode in Lagos, told WIPR he was “surprised” the government was focussing its efforts on online piracy.

Erhahon said that while the NCC is doing “good work in general” it should be more focused on stamping out hard-copy piracy.

Describing it as “still a major issue”, he said, “It has been a problem in Nigeria for a long time so it surprises me that the NCC is focusing on the digital market.

“We are seeing more and more cases of copyright infringement on DVD and CD sales as people tend to buy what is more affordable. I’m not aware of any increasing cases of online piracy.”

Ezukude said that while copyright infringement was a major problem, the NCC was addressing the issue through proactive enforcement and would instead be turning its focus to online piracy.

According to the NCC’s official website, last month it ordered the arrest of ten suspected “pirates” engaged in “unauthorised commercial reproduction and distribution” of copyright protected works with an estimated value of 10 million Nigerian Nairas ($62,000) during two separate enforcement operations.

Both Google and the NCC did not respond to immediate requests to comment on the alleged partnership.

Nigeria, copyright, online piracy, NCC, Lagos,