In a bid to protect intellectual property and boost creativity, the Nigerian Copyright Commission, NCC, on Thursday confiscated N275 million worth of pirated works intercepted at the sea ports.
The Director-General of NCC, Afam Ezekude, while displaying the three containers of bibles, books and compact discs, told journalists that the commission seized a total of N8.3 billion worth of pirated goods from 2011 to 2016.
Mr Ezekude said that the goods in the three seized containers were worth N275 million and were being imported from China.
“From 2011 to the third quarter of 2016, our collaboration with the Nigerian Customs Service led to the seizure of a total of 25 containers of pirated copyright works.
“Within the same period, the commission carried out a total of 289 anti-piracy operations across the country and seized over eight million assorted pirated copyright products with a market value of about N8.3 billion.
“If these goods were allowed to enter the Nigerian market, Nigerian copyright owners will be losing that value to pirates.
“Furthermore, the commission within the period filed several criminal charges against offenders in Federal High Courts and secured a total of 55 convictions against offenders,” he said.
Mr. Ezekude said that the commission was committed to ending piracy.
He sought the cooperation of copyright owners and organisations toward ending the menace.
He thanked the Bible Society of Nigeria, BSN, and the Comptroller of Customs whose support, he said, led to the seizure and delivery of the three containers to the commission.
He said that the copyright owners had a right to go through legal procedures to make the goods theirs.
“In the last six years, we have done so much to reduce the activities of pirates,” he said.
While receiving the seized Bibles, Dare Ajiboye, General Secretary/ Chief Executive Officer, BSN, commended the efforts of the commission.
“As an organisation, one of the greatest challenges we have is piracy.
“It is saddening to invest time, money and energy to produce a creative work which is stolen and reproduced by pirates,” he said.
He advised pirates to desist from the criminal act and pursue a decent way to earn a living. (NAN)