The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has urged licensed cable companies operating in Nigeria to respect the copyright law and follow global best practices.
The Director-General of the commission, Mr John Asein, in a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday reiterated the commission’s commitment to intensify its enforcement of broadcast rights in the country.
Asein gave the advice in an interactive session with the Association of Cable Operators of Nigeria (ACON) led by its General-Secretary, Mr Kalada Wilson, in Abuja.
The director-general, who urged cable operators to follow suit, said the commission would not tolerate broadcast piracy in whatever form.
“While the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) is the best interpreter of its own broadcast code, the NCC will continue to monitor the broadcast space.
“It will also enforce respect for copyright in accordance with the copyright law and international treaties to which Nigeria is a signatory.
“Any broadcaster found transmitting signals without rights, will be apprehended and prosecuted as a broadcast pirate. It does not matter who the broadcaster is.
“We have received complaints from several right owners, including the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Star Times, Multichoice and the commission will henceforth take measures to ensure that broadcast rights are protected,” he said.
According to him, the commission is aligned with the Federal Government’s position of protecting the interest of Nigerians and legitimate foreign investors, to ensure that all parties benefit from the multilateral agreements that the country is a signatory to.
The director-general said that the commission would work with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), to encourage a business environment that would guarantee the growth of local television operators.
“We are in the era of globalisation. While we welcome and protect foreign investors, we must also protect the national economic interest of Nigeria.
“We will always take the path that our interests are well protected in copyright law and in the interests of the local industries.
“We will not do anything inimical to our national interest but we should also be mindful of our international posture, bearing in mind that foreign interests registered in Nigeria enjoy the same protection as local industries,’’
Asein stated that there was a need first to know all the cable operators in the broadcast space and to identify their exclusive rights in order to address the challenges facing them.
However, Wilson, who commended the commission on its 30th Anniversary celebrations, called on NCC to intervene in the operations of the broadcast industry to safeguard and sustain the survival of local cable operators.