The Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC) today, Wednesday, March 2, destroyed pirated materials valued about N2bn in Enugu.
Materials seized during raids carried out by the NCC in the South-East zone include digital video discs, compact discs, books and others. The pirated materials were burnt at a dump site in the Ugwuaji area of Enugu, along the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway.
At a stakeholders interactive session which held before the destruction of the pirated materials, the Director-General of the NCC, Mr. Afam Ezekude, assured that the Commission would not stop at the destruction of the products.
Ezekude, who noted that the South-East was the hub of piracy, said those behind the pirated works would also be prosecuted.
“We will not stop at destruction of pirated materials, we will also make sure that those responsible for this are prosecuted,” he said, while urging the stakeholders to cooperate with the NCC in the campaign against piracy.
He disclosed that, over the last five years, the NCC, in the course of its fight against piracy, has seized and destroyed pirated materials valued at about N8.4bn.
Also, according to him, the Commission’s partnership with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has resulted in the seizure of 25 shipping containers, which were loaded with pirated materials.
About 537 suspected copyright pirates were arrested within the period, he added.
Ezekude further disclosed that while several cases are still pending in court, the NCC secured 54 criminal convictions within the same period. The convictions carried sentences ranging from prison terms and fines, he explained.
However, stakeholders who were primarily musicians, book publishers, movie producers and others, who spoke at the interactive session, lamented about the negative impact of piracy on their businesses. Therefore, they pleaded with the Commission to address the situation, which they said has gotten out of hand.
Reacting to their complaints, Ezekude said the NCC would address the challenges associated with MP3 downloads of copyrighted materials, including songs and videos.
According to him, the NCC would require the collaboration of the police, army, as well as the cooperation of the stakeholders, to stamp out the MP3 menace.