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L-R Director-General, Nigerian Copyright Commission(NCC), Mr. John O. Asein, stressing a point during a consultative meeting with the President of the Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria (CIPPON), Mr. Olugbemi Malomo, at the Lagos Office of the Commission.
The commitment to fine-tuning the regulatory regime to enhance copyright protection in the book industry as part of a comprehensive anti-piracy plan has been rejigged by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and the Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria (CIPPON).
At a consultative meeting held by Director-General of NCC, Mr. John O. Asein and President of CIPPON, Mr. Olugbemi Malomo, in Lagos recently, both regulatory agencies underscored the need to review and intensify effective workings of the copyright system, particularly the book publishing industry to ensure appropriate copyright clearance and instil best practices that would enhance the value chain in the sector.
DG, NCC, Mr. John O. Asein, decried the spate of piracy in the book industry and informed that the Commission would work closely with major players in the copyright value chain in a bid to maintain acceptable standard.
He commended CIPON and its leadership for “identifying the broken bridges that need to be fixed” in order to restore the pride of printing as a critical component of the book industry.
The Director-General noted further that printing has a special place in the historical evolution of the copyright system over four centuries ago and still remains a lynchpin in the publishing industry, assuring that appropriate mechanisms should be put in place to sieve genuine printers from pirates who only masquerade as printers.
Earlier, the President of CIPPON, Mr Olugbemi Malomo, had assured that CIPPON would support the anti-piracy drive of NCC to ensure that piracy was brought to the barest minimum in the book sector.
Said Malomo: “We want to learn from what is on ground and see the area where we can collaborate and be able to achieve our aim as a common goal of identifying and removing pirates because that is the key thing”.
He described his visit to the Commission as a first step in exploring areas of collaboration between CIPPON and NCC.
Stated he: “The book production process has a huge supply chain. There have been instances when books are imported and when they got to Nigeria, pirated ones also came to Nigeria. So basically, we want to change that narrative. We believe that books should be categorised. That is our point of view as regulators”.
Remarked Malomo:: “You cannot seriously talk about Nigerian growth, Nigerian civilization and the enlightenment that Nigerians enjoy without reckoning with the role of printers because printers have always been a major block in the transmission of information in the growth of education, in the provision of enlightenment. So to a large extent, printers are still very relevant; whether in the offset era, in the improved technology era or in the digital era, we still have printers taking on different assignments. So, they are very key and to that extent, we are happy to start a conversation”.
Speaking further, the DG NCC, Mr. Asein stated, “We will move to the next level where we will engage further with your executive and Advisory Council. Then, we would move further to the level of addressing all printers. In the course of that, we would develop the right mechanisms and the right protocol to ensure that we are able to separate the wheat from the chaff”.
He charged the CIPPON President to keep a data of those the Institute regulates and informed that the Commission would commence full enforcement of the requirements of the Copyright Act to ensure that every producer of works keeps a register of works produced as mandated under section 14 of the Act.
Mr. Asein stated, “We already have an obligation under the Copyright Act to ensure that people who are producing copyright works keep registers. So we are sending out a clear message that henceforth, the Nigerian Copyright Commission will enforce the provisions of the Act requiring the keeping of registers. For instance, every printer should have a register of works that he or she is printing. I am sure today, we will have more in default than compliance. So we will soon begin to enforce compliance and prosecute offenders.”
He expressed concern over the prevalence of imported pirated works, which he described as double jeopardy.
Added he: “That is an area right owners would want Government to look into; with the help of the Customs Service, we will monitor the ports and block the inflow of these pirated materials. If we stem piracy then more publishers will be encouraged to patronise local printers. That way, we can save jobs and Nigeria would someday become a printing hub for the region”.
Mr. Asein expressed hope that something would be done to revive the paper production industry to make printing in Nigeria more competitive and reduce dependence on foreign printing.
Consequent upon the deliberations, a four-man technical committee comprising NCC and CIPPON staff members would be inaugurated to, among other things, deliberate on the framework and modalities for future cooperation between NCC and CIPPON.