By BARTHOLOMEW MADUKWE
The Nigerian Copyright Commission, NCC, has secured 40 convictions against different copyright offenders between January 2011 and June 2013.
Disclosing this at the Commission’s Headquarters, Abuja, NCC Director-General, Mr. Afam Ezekude, in a report revealed that the Commission secured 3 convictions against pirates in 2011, 26 in 2012 and 11 between January and June, 2013.
According to the report, the pirates were sentenced to various terms, including imprisonment without option of fine, in some instances.
In a recent development, the Federal High Court Ikoyi convicted and sentenced three pirates to various jail terms, including imprisonment, in some instances, without the option of fine for the infringement of the book, “The Accidental Public Servant” written by Mallam Nasir El Rufai.
Ezekude also disclosed that Justice Idris of the Federal High Court Ikoyi, Lagos, on May 6, 2013, in charge No: FHC/L/159C/13 sentenced Nwoke Isreal to one year imprisonment, without option of fine, on a two count charge of having in possession and selling pirated copies of the book.
He added: “Justice Yunusa also of the Federal High Court Ikoyi, on May 10, 2013, in Charge No FHC/L/158C/13 sentenced another book pirate, Ifeanyichukwu Nweke, to six months imprisonment with an option of N1, 000.00 (one thousand Naira) fine for each count on a similar two count charge of infringing the same book.”
According to him, similarly, on a two-count charge of having in possession and selling pirated copies of the book, Justice Saidu of the same court, on May 22, 2013 sentenced Akamu Chibueze to three months imprisonment, in charge No: FHC/L/149C/13, for both counts without any option of fine to run concurrently.
It was gathered that the convictions were sequel to anti-piracy operations carried out by operatives of the Commission in major outlets in Lagos, following complaints earlier received from the right owner.
The Commission had on May 8, 2013, raided a printing press in Gbagada, a notorious piracy haven, and confiscated an estimated Four Million Naira (4,000,000.00) worth of suspected pirated books of various titles owned by different publishers.
While assuring stakeholders of the Commission’s resolve in the fight against piracy, Ezekude urged them to be more proactive in supporting it’s enforcement and prosecution activities.