PIRACY AND ITS BURDEN ON COPYRIGHT

The Nigerian Copyright Act empowers the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), the main regulatory and enforcement agency whose function is to regulate, enforce and protect the copyright of authors and creators.

6/17/2022 4 min read

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PIRACY AND IT BURDEN ON COPYRIGHT

The Nigerian Copyright Act empowers the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), the main regulatory and enforcement agency whose function is to regulate, enforce and protect the copyright of authors and creators.

Despite the role of the Nigerian copyright law, its ability to protect the right of authors and creators is being questioned due to cases of infringements on copyrighted intellectual properties such as literary works, musical acts, and software among others. The reasons for this are not farfetched due to social and economic reasons which will be unveiled in the course of this paper. Copyright infringements occur when copyrighted works are reused by duplicating, photocopying, and repackaging for economic gains without seeking permission from the original authors and creators.

Piracy and other forms of copyright infringement have been of paramount concern to stakeholders in the copyright industry. The problem of copyright enforcement in Nigeria is not only due to the inadequacy of laws. In fact, it is multifaceted and there are many other factors responsible for the current state of things including ignorance, poverty and lack of expertise. While the Nigerian Copyright Commission is responsible for all matters relating to copyright in the country including copyright enforcement, it is essential to encourage copyright owners to be actively involved in the enforcement of their rights. In achieving this, there are also factors militating against the copyright owners. It is therefore essential to find a solution in copyright owners enforcing their rights collectively.

The illegality of piracy on intellectual works manifests in cases of duplication, printing, and copying other people’s work without the prior knowledge of the rightful owner for their financial gains. In other words, piracy is the creation of duplicate and unauthenticated copies of copyrighted works such as print materials (published/unpublished) sound files, video files, films, movies, PC games, software among others.

Due to technological advancement, the Piracy business has become sophisticated and global in nature and scope. The use of technological devices has aided pirates in the creation, production, and dissemination of these products (Omoba & Omoba, 2009)

Even though piracy is an illegal business by the dictates of the law, the increasing rate of piracy in Nigeria and the world at large is quite alarming. In the Nigerian environment. One then wonders the effectiveness of the Nigerian copyright law to punish offenders and infringers on authors' rights. Due to the influence of technology in today’s business, piracy on copyrighted works involves activities such as photocopying, downloading, duplicating, transferring, disseminating, and distribution without prior permission from the copyright holders.

The Nigerian environment, without being prejudiced has become a dumping ground for pirated products both from within and outside the country. Nigeria maintains the largest piracy market in the world in the products protected by Copyright Acts especially in the software and entertainment industries (Akinjide, 2007). Also, Nigeria's work of arts especially music and movies rank amongst the most abused and pirated products (Olaniyi, 2012). In essence, this shows that the Nigerian copyright law is weak and poorly enforced by the regulatory and enforcement agencies that are mandated by the Federal government to regulate and control piracy activities in the country.

TYPES OF PIRACY

Although, there are several forms of piracy, and this have been enumerated by Nwogu (2015) to include book piracy, music piracy broadcast piracy, cinematographic piracy, film piracy, software piracy and internet piracy. Notwithstanding, book piracy is by far the most common type of piracy and that will be the focus of this study.

BOOK PIRACY

According to Nwogu (2015) book piracy is the reproduction and distribution of copyrightable book on a commercial scale without the consent of the copy owner or copy right owner. In other words, book piracy is simply the illegal production of a book with copyright.

The forms of book piracy are: local reproduction of fast moving titles using newsprint or poor textured paper, abuse of publication rights, hi-tech reproduction overseas, circumventing the e-book version, illegal reprography, unauthorized excessive production by printers, and translation without permission.

Some of the causes of book piracy are poverty, book scarcity, ignorance of the copyright laws by the public and the uncooperative attitude of some countries in endorsing international treaties on intellectual property rights.

FILM AND MUSIC PIRACY

Piracy is done in many ways like video piracy, cable piracy, and DVD/CD piracy. Video piracy takes place when a film is produced in the form of a videocassette without proper authorization from the right holder i.e. the producer. Often, film producers sell video rights to another party (generally after six weeks or more of release in theatres), which makes video cassettes for selling, or lending.

Sometimes they are easy to spot but there are things you should look out for including:

  • the cover not being good quality

  • if the film has just been released at the cinema if the DVD packaging has any foreign languages on it, or if the description or cast list doesn't match the film you're buying, it's probably been produced on a home computer

SOFTWARE PRIVACY

Software piracy is the illegal copying, distribution, or use of software. It is such a profitable "business" that it has caught the attention of organized crime groups in a number of countries. According to the Business Software Alliance (BSA), about 36% of all software in current use is stolen. Software piracy causes significant lost revenue for publishers, which in turn results in higher prices for the consumer.

When you purchase a commercial software package, an end user license agreement ( EULA ) is included to protect that software program from copyright infringement. Typically, the license states that you can install the original copy of software you bought on one computer and that you can make a backup copy in case the original is lost or damaged. You agree to the licensing agreement when you open the software package (this is called a shrink wrap license), when you open the envelope that contains the software disks, or when you install the software.

Types of software piracy include:

  • Soft lifting

  • Hard-disk loading

  • Counterfeiting

  • Online piracy:

Conclusion in order to solve the challenge of book piracy and clamp down on book pirates, the following must be taken into cognizance. Relevant government and professional bodies such as The National Orientation Agency (NOA), the Nigerian Library Association (NLA) and media should carry out campaigns at strategic locations and enlighten people on the dangers of patronizing pirated titles.

NB: This article is not a legal advice, and under no circumstance should you take it as such. All information provided are for general purpose only. For information, please contact chamanlawfirm@gmail.com

WRITTEN BY CHAMAN LAW FIRM TEAM

EMAIL: chamanlawfirm@gmail.com

TEL: 08065553671, 08024230080