Copyright Commission Arrests 3 Book Pirates, Impounds Infringing Materials Worth N10M in Lagos

Three suspected copyright pirates engaged in illicit printing of schoolbooks have been arrested by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) during an antipiracy operation at the weekend in Lagos.

The Commission confiscated ten thousand (10,000) copies of printed materials at different stages of production, estimated at over N10 million Naira during the raid carried out by Copyright Inspectors at printing outlets in Ikate, Surulere, Lagos State on Friday, 17 September 2021. The materials seized included printing plates, book covers, inner texts belonging to different authors and publishers.

The suspects, Miss Elizabeth Alomilewe, Mr. Angus Umeh and Mr. Nchekwube Obi, were arrested on the premises for contravening the provisions of the Copyright Act.
Some of the titles found in the custody of the suspects included Nigerian Primary English Workbook 6, 4th Edition and New Method Mathematics for Primary Schools, Workbook 1, 4th Edition belonging to Learn Africa; Progressive Mathematics for Upper Primary Schools, Examination Classes 5-6 belonging to Sunrise Publishers.

Others were The Lion and the Jewel by Wole Soyinka; Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison; Let Me Die Alone by John Kolisa Kargbo, published by Tonid Standard Publishers; Save The African Womb by Nicole Chinelo; and Unexpected Joy At Dawn by Alex Agyoi Agyiri, from Sub Saharan Publishers, etc.

Speaking on behalf of the Director-General of the Commission, Dr. John O. Asein, the Director, NCC Lagos Office, Mr. Matthew Ojo, cautioned operators in the printing industry to stay away from piracy, adding that the Commission would step up its vigilance and routine inspection of printing facilities to check their criminal activities. He drew the attention of printers to their obligation under the Copyright Act to keep registers of works and ensure due diligence in the clearance of rights.

He also hinted that the Commission was working on a new regulatory framework for book printers, and booksellers to ensure that they operate within the bounds of the law. He indicated that investigation was on-going and the suspects would soon be charged to court.
The Director reassured authors and publishers that the Commission remained committed to providing safe corridors for their businesses to protect legitimate businesses and investment in the creative sector.

According to him, the Commission would do everything to check the inflow of pirated materials into the book market while not relenting in its national antipiracy campaign to disrupt criminal activities in the book chain.

The anti-piracy raid, led by the Head of Operations, Lagos Office, Mr. Charles Amudipe, was executed following surveillance activities carried out by operatives of the Commission.

Vincent A. Oyefeso
Director, Public Affairs
For: Director-General