First annual seminar on eradication of piracy holds in Rivers

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The first annual seminar in the entertainment industry organised by the National Association of Audio and VCD Dealers Association has been held in Port Harcourt, The Rivers State capital with a call for the concerted efforts of all stakeholders to actualise the objectives of the ongoing war against piracy in Nigeria.

The one day seminar which was held in the conference hall of the federal Secretariat Complex in Port Harcourt on Monday, November 27th 2006 was attended by the representatives of the National Copy right commission (NCC), National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), performing musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN), The Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), among other stakeholders in the Entertainment industry in Nigeria.

Speaking at the occasion, the South-South Zonal Coordinator of NFVCB Mr. Ceasar Kagho who was also the chairman of the occasion commended the organisers, describing the seminar as timely and important as it would help to highlight the various problems militating against the growth of the entertainment industry in the zone and the country in general as well as profer solutions towards solving the problems.

Mr. Kagho said NFCVB was established by ACT 85 of 1993 and under the federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation, to carry out such functions as Censorship of films and Video works, registration and licensing of rental and retail (sellers) – outlets, Cinema/Exhibition halls and the entire regulation of the film and video industries in Nigeria.

The Zonal coordinator noted that even with the existence of the NFVCB and its serious functions, a lot of films and video retailers were still not registered with the Censors Board, thereby making their business illegal, stressing that such illegal operators were liable to prosecution when arrested.

He also stated that despite the fact that pornographic films were illegal, they were still being openly displayed and sold by retailers in major areas like parks, Garrison, Lagos, water lines Rumuola, Rumuokoro, Rumuokwuta and other major junctions in the State capital.

According to him, these pornographic films are corrupting the society as there is a high tendency of people wanting to practice what they watch in these movies.

“With the prevalence of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), pornographic films do more harm than good to our society”, he said. He stressed that so far NFVCB has burnt thousands of pornographic films worth millions of naira in Port Harcourt, Lagos, Abuja, Benin and Calabar.

The NFVCB Coordinator also stated that piracy is another major area the government frowns at. He disclosed that the Nigerian copyright commission recently destroyed thousands of pirated CDS, VCDs and DVDs worth several thousands of naira recently at the Federal Secretariat complex, Port Harcourt. He stressed that the NFVCB in collaboration with the NCC had declared a total war on piracy.

In his welcome address at the seminar, the Chairman of Film, Music and Artworks Dealers Association, Rivers State, Comrade Tunde K. Kelani explained that the purpose of the seminar was to look for a way of eliminating piracy and to ensure the promotion and protection of intellectual works of Nigerians in the entertainment industry, stressing that apart from oil, entertainment is another source of National income.

He appealed to the various associations in the industry such as performing musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN), Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Association of Movie Producers (AMP) among others to participate actively in the ongoing strategic Action Against piracy (STRAP) in order to achieve its objectives.

Comrade Kelani said that had become not only important but urgent, and added that a situation where the actors, actress, producers and other stakeholders work like elephants and eat like ants was not acceptable to the individuals and the industry at large.

The chairman commended the efforts of the regulatory authorities for trying to sanitise the industry through their various policies and programmes. He also lauded the media for the indept coverage of their activities which he said had helped in creating the necessary awareness among the public.

He said the war against piracy should not be left for the entertainment industry alone rather all hands must be on the deck to ensure victory. He thanked his members for their maturity and commitment to the growth of the Nigerian entertainment industry and the success of the seminar.