Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) have struck an inter-agency pact to boost copyright protection through joint enforcement actions in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja against street hawking of copyright protected works like books, CDs, VCDs and DVDs.
Mr. John O. Asein, Director-General of NCC, and Dr. Hassan Abubakar, the Director-General of AEPB, who disclosed this at a consultative meeting in Abuja, reiterated that street sales of copyright materials were illegal and would be checked in line with the relevant copyright and environmental laws.
Speaking during a courtesy visit at the AEPB Headquarters in Abuja at the weekend, the Director-General of NCC expressed displeasure at the indulgence of persons posing as newspaper vendors but in actual fact engaged in street sale of pirated books. He also called for proactive partnership of NCC and AEBP to rid the streets of widespread peddling of other copyright works such as CDs, CDs and DVDs.
“This unwholesome practice of selling copyright works on the streets is an open show of lawlessness which portrays a negative image of the country. 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”, he stressed.
Responding, Dr. Hassan Abubakar, the Director-General of AEPB, pointed out that the call for partnership was a renewal of an existing intergovernmental synergy between both Government agencies, considering that the AEPB had been clamping down on the activities of book hawkers and sellers of CDs, VCDs and DVDs on the streets of Abuja. He noted that such raids by AEPB operatives had resulted in large seizures while the offenders were being prosecuted for environmental nuisance.
Dr. Abubakar assured that the Board would intensify its enforcement activities in line with the renewed collaboration of both agencies to rid the streets of Abuja of the nuisance of hawking pirated copyright works on the streets.
The AEPB DG directed that the Board’s Enforcement operatives should team up with the Commission’s Copyright Inspectors to embark on immediate and sustained inter-agency enforcement interventions against street trading of copyright protected works.
The DG, NCC, while looking forward to the sustenance of the renewed drive to remove books from the streets, said the proactive measure would serve as a model for other Nigerian cities in the Commission’s renewed effort to clamp down on piracy at every level and bring the needed relief for copyright owners.
He indicated that in furtherance of the interagency synergy, the Commission would be taking appropriate steps to secure the destruction of the pirated materials already confiscated.