Copyright commission arrests suspected pirates

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Officials of the commission acted on a tip-off. The officials found original CDs of both local and foreign artistes in a large carton, a spool filled with plain CDs probably in the process of being dubbed, as well as pirated copies of CDs and VCDs.

The anti-piracy raid was carried out at Oseni Street, Satellite Town, Lagos at about 9 a.m. yesterday.

There was a mild drama when officials of the commission with a large number of policemen arrived at the premises, cordoned off the entire area and moved into the compound, only to find the big place deserted.

Enquiries from a young girl operating a phone outfit on the whereabouts of the owner of the compound did not produce any reasonable answer. Uncomfortable silence pervaded the entire compound. "I am just doing my business here. I don't know the owner of the compound and I have not seen him today," the girl said.

Had they been sold a dummy? The officials wondered aloud as they searched for answers from the seemingly impregnable iron burglary proof. The leader of the team, Mr. Bayo Aiyegbusi, Head of Enforcement of the commission, was sure of the information obtained from their informant. "We have been carrying out surveillance on this premises for over a month now before we decided to carry out this raid. Something must be wrong."
Indeed something was wrong. The place looked like a respectable family house, at least until the doors were forced open to reveal what looked like materials used in infringing on artistes' works.

Aiyegbusi invoked Section 32A of the Copyright Act, which gives Copyright Inspectors the right to gain entrance (forcefully) into any apartment suspected of piracy.

At the end of the short raid, the incriminating materials were found and the telephone operator and the wife of the main suspect were arrested.

While addressing the press, Aiyegbusi said the suspected pirate was probably tipped-off on the imminent raid. "That was why he took away his replicating machines. But even at that, what we saw is enough to conclude that he has some answers to give. We also saw a receipt used in importing a jewel box, and jewel boxes are used in CD duplicating. This man is not a registered CD manufacturer, so..."
He said the wife would not be detained longer than necessary. "If the husband comes today, she would be released. We won't detain her more than today