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THE joint operatives of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and The Economic and Financial crimes Commission (EFCC) have slamed their anti-piracy operation on two large-scale replicating plants in Lagos. The culprits are, Magnet Integrated Ventures Company Limited, Ajah and Akina Music International Company Limited, Ikeja. The officials of this illegal replicators were caught in the act of piracy of creative works in compact disc, video compact disc and digital compact disc formats.

Two truck loads of suspected pirated products estimated at N32 million were impounded during the anti-piracy operation executed in line with the NCC's multisectoral, public-private sector collaborative campaign under the Strategic Action Against Piracy (STRAP).

A release from the Commission stated that based on intelligence reports, copyright inspectors and EFCC operatives working in concert with experts from International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI) had carried out surveillance activities which indicated that though both replicating plants were registered for legitimate business, their facilities were equally being deployed for massive production of copyright infringing products.

It added that two teams of NCC, EFCC and IFPI operatives along with a contingent of Police Mobile Force personnel swooped unannounced on the plants and conducted simultaneous inspection of both factories which were found to be engaged in the mass production of music and movie products suspected to be pirated.

Managing Director of Akina Music, Mr. Kwan Foog and five officials of Magnet Ventures were arrested and interrogated, while a man-hunt has been launched for the chief executive of the Magnet company.

In accordance with the Copyright Law and powers vested in the NCC by the Replicating Plants Regulations 2006, the Commission has sealed up the premises of Magnet and Akina replicating plants pending the conclusion of on-going post-raid investigations and subsequent prosecution of both companies for infringement of the nation's Copyright Act as amended.

Meanwhile the Federal Government has set up the Nigerian Intellectual Property Commission (nipcom) and has appointed the Director General od NCC, Mr. Adebambo Adewopo as pioneer DG.This is indeed a remarkable development in the struggle to restore commercial values to copyright owners as PresidentOlusegun Obasanjo has also approved the establishment of the NIPCOM as a full-fledged regulatory and enforcement agency in consolidation of the on-going reform on intellectual property matters for enhanced national development.

The president has consequently directed the integration of the Trademark and Patent Registry of the Department of Commercial Law of the Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry into the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) to form the NIPCOM under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Justice.