Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC)’s collaboration with stakeholders to combat the piracy of literary works was recently intensified with the convening of an Anti-piracy interactive forum between Publishers of Books and Book Sellers at Ibadan on June 8, 2017.
According to the NCC Zonal Manager, Ibadan, Mrs. Ogundiran, O.A, the meeting was facilitated by the Commission to strengthen the synergy between the stakeholders towards achieving a unified front against the scourge of books piracy.
The meeting which was organized by the Ibadan Zonal Office of the commission was held at the Nigerian Publishers Association Secretariat, Ibadan. Those in attendance are the Chief Executives of Publishing Firms and their representatives and Executive members of the Nigerian Booksellers Association drawn from Ondo, Ogun, Osun and Oyo States in full attendance.
Issues discussed focused on activities of publishing companies and booksellers that promote the circulation of pirated works and how to curb it.
Sales Representatives sourcing pirated books from the open markets in Idumota and Ajegunle and selling to unsuspecting booksellers as originals, non-availabilty of books during the book season for supply to booksellers at the right time, disparity in discounts offered to schools and bookshops, direct distribution of books to schools bypassing the booksellers are challenges raised by booksellers.
Inadequate information about changes in school curriculum, proper identification of sales representatives and lack of credit facilities to stock more books are also factors affecting booksellers.
Responding to the allegation, the publisher’s profer that booksellers should always insist that original receipts are issued to them when purchases are made from sales representatives, booksellers were encouraged to contact publishing houses with the phone numbers on book covers for their needs and confirmations and come for direct purchase at the company to enjoy full discount.
In the same vein, the publishers stated that supply of books to schools was based on direct demand from schools to the company which cannot be easily discarded, changes in price is due to economic factors beyond the control of the company, while changes in book covers is a tactic employed by publishers to be a step ahead of pirates at all times.
Due to the abuse of credit facilities by booksellers, the publishers noted that many companies withdrew the privilege but advised booksellers to buy saleable quantities within a short period to avoid indebtedness.
NCC as a regulatory agency for the stakeholders after scrutinizing the issues raised from the interactive session, charted a way forward to checkmate the incidence of piracy as follows;
- All books offered for sale by publishers must be made available on time to close any vacuum that pirates will capitalize on to flood the market with pirated copies.
- Cordial relationship between publishers and booksellers was emphasized as their close collaboration can curb the issue of piracy to the barest minimum.
- Booksellers should buy limited quantities that can be sold in a short time to minimize effects of changes in curriculum and book covers on their sales and profit margin.
- Publishers and booksellers were encouraged to sponsor awareness program against the act of piracy on the various channels of communication i.e social media, Television and Radio.
- Registration and issuance of Identity Card to all Booksellers with the Booksellers Association was stressed to afford them prompt recognition by Publishers and the Nigerian Copyright Commission.
The convening of the interactive forum is a big feat for the Commission as it affords the two major stakeholders in the book selling chain to come together to forge a formidable front against their common enemy, “pirates”.
Staff of NCC Ibadan Zonal Office were fully represented at the event.