Friday, 17 July 2009

Updates on Battling Copyright Piracy in Nigeria

The Nigerian newspapers have been filled lately with new activities in the ongoing fight against copyright piracy in Nigeria.  Here is a brief summary of some of those activities.

Book Publishing

The Daily Sun reports that lawyer Job Dangana has opened his own publishing shop. Currently focusing on publishing textbooks, Dangana believes that his publishing company can help fight piracy by producing quality books at reasonable prices.  Pirated books are generally easy to spot in Nigeria, being of very low quality. However, the high prices of legitimate books, especially textbooks, often make them out of reach for the average purchaser.  While Dangan is not aiming to make himself rich, it is hoped his business will add to the strengthening of a legitimate book industry in Nigeria.  Dangan’s immediate goal is to help students in Nigeria:

My focus in publishing is not primarily to make money but to produce high quality books that could lay solid foundation for the future of students.

Teaming up with Customs and Police Forces

Reported by This Day, the Nigerian Copyright Commission is building partnerships with the Nigerian Police Force and the Nigerian Customs Service in the ongoing battle against piracy.  These partnerships help the Commission by enabling action at ports where infringing goods may be entering or leaving the country, as well as at the source of the infringing materials.  Director General of the Commission, Adebambo Adewapo explained the relationship between the agencies:

…the Commission will always rely on their respective active support and collaboration in the anti-piracy campaign…

Introduction of Source Identification Code

The Nigerian Copyright Commission has introduced a new technical piece in the battle against copyright infringement.  The Source Identification Code, called SID for short, identifies where an optical disc (used for either CDs, DVDs or VCDs) was pressed.  According to The Times of Nigeria, this type of system has been in use around the world since the mid 1990s.  In Nigeria, it is hope that using SID codes will help identify products coming from unregistered optical disc plants, believed to be the main source of infringing CDs and DVDs within the country.

Trial to Begin in Case of Exporting Infringing CDs

Back in May, Afro-Leo reported on a Nigerian business man who was accused of attempting to import infringing CDs into South Africa.  The Vanguard tells us that the trial began at the end of June, as expected. Interesting to those of us who are familiar with cases involving subpoenas of text records from cell phone companies, the accused’s cell phone text messages were allowed into evidence, but the messages were not obtained from the cell phone company’s records.  Rather, a witness from the Nigerian Copyright Commission transcribed messages stored on the cell phone at the time it was taken from the accused.

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