The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) celebrates the World Book and Copyright Day 2018 with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and other stakeholders in the Copyright Industry particularly publishers, booksellers and libraries.
By setting aside April 23rd, a symbolic date in world literature, UNESCO seeks to recognize the magical power of Books – a link between the past and the future, a bridge between generations and across cultures. The celebration every year among UNESCO member states promotes the power of books among people; brings them together, helps in the discovery of new ideas, as well as the dissemination of a variety of cultures to other people.
The theme of this year’s celebration “Reading, It’s My Right”, further re-emphasizes the imperative nature of reading as an act for mental stimulation, stress reduction, improved memory, heightened analytical thinking, better focus, free entertainment and stronger bonds.
As the Commission commemorates this day, it is an opportunity to raise public awareness for books and reading, pay tribute to authors and investors in the book industry, as well as ensure that legislations which promote equitable access to books and protection of Copyright and other Intellectual property rights are enacted.
The choice of Athens, Greece, as “World Book Capital 2018” is not without recourse to their invaluable contributions to human civilization from the birth of Democracy to values of liberal humanism which cannot be underscored.
The Commission as an agency for protection, administration and enforcement of Copyright in Nigeria, has consistently been in the front burner of ensuring that creators and right owners derive maximum benefits from their creativity through the entrenchment of a sound Copyright system.
Over the years the Commission has ensured the actualization of its mandate through vigorous regulation and enforcement of Copyright matters while also strengthening partnership with stakeholders.
From the year 2011 till date, the Commission has conducted over Six Hundred and Eight (608) anti-piracy surveillance; Three Hundred and Forty-Six (346) anti-piracy operations; Seized over Nine Million, Three Hundred and Seven Thousand, Six Hundred and Fifteen (9,307,615) units of pirated copyright protected works; valued at Nine Billion, Six Hundred and One Million, Five Hundred and Seventeen Thousand, Ten Naira (N9, 601, 517, 010); arrested Seven Hundred and twenty-one (721) suspected pirates; and secured Fifty-Eight (58) criminal convictions against copyright offenders at the various Federal High Courts across the Country.
In collaboration with the Nigerian customs, the Commission within the period also impounded a total of Twenty Eight (28) containers containing pirated copyright protected works; confiscated Seven Hundred
and Forty-Nine Million, Three and Sixteen Thousand, One Hundred and Eighty-Seven (749,316,187) units of pirated works and contrivances , valued at Ten Billion, Three Hundred Million Naira (N10,300,000,000).
Over 585 staff of the Commission participated in various foreign and local training programmes on Intellectual Property (IP) Enforcement and Prosecution, Crime investigation by INTERPOL, other Copyright related courses and productivity enhancement training in UK, USA, Paris, Ghana and within the Country during the period under review.
The Commission in July 2014 launched an e-Registration platform, the first of its kind in Africa, which has witnessed a high wave of interactive performance with the Commission issuing over 8,173 Copyright Registration certificates.
A new Collective Management Organization (CMO) Audio Visual Rights Society of Nigeria (AVRS) a collective society for audiovisual works in Nigeria was given approval for operation as a CMO in November 2014.
REPRONIG the CMO for literary works in Nigeria was revamped with the collaboration of NORCODE & IFRRO while their operating license was renewed by the commission in 2017.
Due to the robust Enforcement & Prosecutorial activities of the Commission and the rising profile of the Nigerian Creative Industry, Nigeria has consistently been off the 301 list of Countries that are not seriously addressing IP abuses including Copyright.
WIPO an organ of the United Nations (UN) has approved to set up a WIPO External Office in Nigeria for the African region.
Following the launch of the Reform of the Nigerian Copyright System in November, 2012 by the Commission, the Federal Executive Council in December 2017 approved the repealing of the current Copyright Act and the enactment of the New Copyright Bill.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) headed by President Muhammadu Buhari in August 2017, ratified Four (4) WIPO Treaties initiated by the Commission with the subsequent depositing of the treaties at the 57th General Assembly of WIPO member states in Geneva, Switzerland.
These are some of the achievements the Commission is building-on and we call on all stakeholders to support these efforts to ensure a robust creative and copyright system for our country, Nigeria.