NCC IMPOUNDS N9M PIRATED PRODUCTS IN ONITSHA
By Tony Edike
THE Nigerian Copyrights Commission, NCC, has impounded pirated musical optical discs and books worth over N9 million, while three persons, suspected to be major producers and marketers of the fake products, have been apprehended in Onitsha, Anambra State.
The compact discs, which included MP3 containing a selection of various musical albums belonging to different Nigerian record label owners, some imported ones as well as instructional materials on CD, were impounded following a tip off by the copyright owners.
The Director, Public Affairs of the commission, Sir Charles Obi, who disclosed this while displaying the pirated works in Enugu yesterday, said the fake products, which were being sold at very cheap prices in markets across the country, were impounded during the raid on the affected shops in Onitsha.
He said: 'This is just one operation carried out in three shops on Iweka Road, Onitsha. These pirated materials which market value is put at about N9 million, were impounded from the three shops. It was a worrisome discovery.
'The arrested persons will appear in court as soon as we conclude our investigations. We shall prosecute them under the Copyright Law.
'You can see that these materials are being pirated and sold as original but there is nothing original about it. They are fake, pirated and there is no address written on it. Unfortunately, these are different musical works of different artists, they select the tracks and put them in CD for peanuts and the law says no to that.
'We will not hesitate at any time we have information to remove these things from the market.'
President of the Music Label Owners and Recording Association of Nigeria, MORAN, Mr. John Udegbunam, who witnessed display of the pirated works, expressed appreciation to NCC for the good job it had done to protect genuine operators in the sector.
He said that the association had through its intelligence unit compiled the data of pirated works in major markets like Onitsha and Alaba in Lagos, assuring that more arrests would soon be made as part of efforts to get rid of the economic saboteurs.
On his part, Deputy National President of Nigeria Publishers Association, NPA, Mr. J. C. Odoh lamented that the illegal activities of pirates in the country had frustrated the government's efforts to generate revenue from published works while genuine authors had also been deprived of their legitimate earnings.
He therefore called on the federal government to strengthen and empower the NCC to function like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC to enable it wage effective war against pirates in the country.