NCC partners with environmental body to tackle piracy

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Nigeria – The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has partnered with regulatory body the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) to clamp down on the illegal sale of copyright works, mainly targeting the unlawful street hawkers.

The NCC is a local agency responsible for copyright and other intellectual property (IP) issues, while the AEPB protects and manages the federal capital environment.

The decision to join forces was made during the NCC’s recent visit to the AEPB headquarters. It forms part of renewed efforts to stop the peddling of pirated material, including books, CDs and DVDs, among others, and is expected to provide relief for rightsholders.

NCC director-general John O Asein expressed his organisation’s commitment to nip the menace in the bud in line with copyright and environmental laws.

The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has partnered with regulatory body the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) to clamp down on the illegal sale of copyrighted works, particularly on the streets.

“This unwholesome practice of selling copyright works on the streets is an open show of lawlessness which portrays a negative image of the country,” Asein said. “Most of the people engaged in this illegal activity use the sales of newspapers and magazines as a decoy to perpetrate acts of copyright piracy”.

AEPB director-general Dr Hassan Abubakar said that the partnership signified a proactive renewal of an existing intergovernmental agreement between the two agencies. He said regular raids by AEPB’s task force had resulted in major confiscations, with offenders being prosecuted for environmental nuisance.

Abubakar requested that the board’s enforcement operatives team up with the commission’s copyright inspectors to intensify its sustained inter-agency enforcement interventions to remove pirated material from the streets.

Asein also suggested that the new intitiative would serve as a model for other cities in the country, adding that the commission is taking appropriate steps to have the confiscated materials destroyed.

NCC operatives recently arrested Anakwue Josephine and Alheri Abbas during an anti-piracy operation at Government Secondary School in Abuja. The suspects were nabbed for allegedly selling pirated books. Some 83 books were confiscated during the operation.

“The commission would focus on intensifying its anti-piracy operations across the country with a view to ensuring that rights owners were guaranteed return on their investments to strengthen the creative industries as a major sector of the nation’s economy,” NCC director of operations Obi Ezeilo said.

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