Nigerian Copyright Commission Arraigns 7 Over Alleged Book Piracy In Abia

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Seven men have been arraigned for prosecution at the Federal High Court 1, Umuahia, Abia State for alleged book piracy. The suspects were arrested during an enforcement operation by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC)

The defendants, Emmanuel Onyejekwe, Ifeanyi Okoro, Ejike Alozie, Emenike Owunna, Ihueze Kyrian, Ebuka Emecheta and Echezona Nwachukwu, were arraigned on 9th October 2020 before Hon. Justice E. N. Anyadike on different counts of criminal infringement of the Copyright Act 2004.

The seven defendants pleaded not guilty to their charges while the eighth accused person, one Nnadozie Igwe, was yet to be served.

A three-count charge was proffered against four of the defendants, Emmanuel Onyejekwe, Ifeanyi Okoro, Ejike Alozie and Emenike Owunna, namely: “Importation of infringing copies of literary works in which copyright subsists without authorisation, contrary to section 20(1),(b) of the Copyright Act, 2004”; “Selling, exposing or offering for sale infringing copies of work in which copyright subsists, contrary to section 20(2)(a) of the Copyright Act, 2004”; and “Being in possession, other than for private or domestic use infringing copies of works in which Copyright subsists – contrary to section 20(2)(c) of the Copyright Act, 2004”.

Others, Ihueze Kyrian, Ebuka Emecheta and Echezona Nwachukwu were arraigned on a two-count charge of “Selling, exposing or offering for sale infringing copies of work in which copyright subsists, contrary to section 20(2)(a) of the Copyright Act, 2004”; and “Being in possession, other than for private or domestic use infringing copies of works in which Copyright subsists – contrary to section 20(2)(c) of the Copyright Act, 2004”.

The accused persons were granted bail with two sureties each. Hearing in the cases of Emmanuel Onyejekwe, Ifeanyi Okoro, Ejike Alozie and Emenike Owunna was adjourned to November 25, 2020 while the cases of Ihueze Kyrian, Ebuka Emecheta and Echezona Nwachukwu were adjourned for trial on November 24, 2020.

The arraignment of the accused persons is a follow-up action to the Commission’s anti-piracy raid carried out in Aba, Abia State on October 8, 2019 during which eight book piracy suspects were arrested.

Thirty-five thousand suspected pirated books valued at N70 million were impounded during the enforcement operation.

The seizures were mostly educational books being titles of almost all the educational publishing companies in Nigeria, include Macmillan books, Learn Africa books, Africana First books, Metropolitan books, Lantern books, Universal Publishers Plc. books and Spectrum books.

On completion of further investigation, the Commission filed charges against the eight defendants on 29th June 2020 at the Federal High Court, Umuahia, Abia State.

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