Gana To Stakeholder: Support Renewed Anti-Piracy Campaign

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Director-General, Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Mr. John Ohi Asein, addressing participants during the Abuja Book Exhibition hosted by Flomat Books in collaboration with Christian Booksellers Association (CBAN) at the Sharon Ultimate Hotel, Abuja, recently

Former Minister of Information and Special Guest of Honour at the Abuja Book Exhibition, Prof. Jerry Gana, makes a speech at the event hosted by Flomat Books in collaboration with CBAN in Abuja

L-R Director-General, NCC, Mr. John O. Asein; Chief Executive Officer, Flomat Books, Dr. Anthony Akpokene and the Special Guest of Honour, Professor Jerry Gana, appraising the books on display during the Abuja Book Exhibition hosted by Flomat Books in collaboration with CBAN in recently

Former Information Minister and Special Guest of Honour, Prof. Jerry Gana (2nd L) and DG, NCC, Mr. John O. Asein, with pupils of Vantage Point Academy, Gwarimpa Abuja: (L-R) Munachi Onyenaka, Mohammed Sanusi and Emmanuella John during the Abuja Book Exhibition

Stakeholders in the copyright industry were over the weekend urged to intensify support for the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and its renewed campaign against copyright piracy.

Former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana, made the call while underscoring the relevance of the creative industries to Nigeria’s economic development, at the Abuja Book Exhibition, with the theme: “Bringing Back the Reading Culture”, hosted by Flomat Books in collaboration with Christian Booksellers Association of Nigeria (CBAN).

Professor Gana, a prolific author and academic, who was the Special Guest of Honour at the event, stressed the need to create an environment that would encourage the sustainable development of talents in Nigeria. He condemned the activities of copyright pirates and expressed satisfaction with the renewed fight against copyright piracy by the Commission through a sustained anti-piracy campaign.

He urged authors and publishers to take advantage of the various digital formats now available in presenting their books and other reading materials to the new generation of readers while also retaining the physical formats for posterity. Sharing his personal experience in the world of books, he narrated how his love for books has continued to inspire him to write more books in spite of his busy schedule.

Assuring the NCC and the publishing industry of his fervent support in the fight against piracy, he recalled that as a former Minister of Information, the Ministry then supervising the NCC, he had given full support to the various initiatives of the Commission in its efforts to stem piracy, noting that the fight was getting tougher.

Speaking on the topic “Bringing Back the Reading Culture: Books, Piracy and the Sustainability Dilemma”, the Director-General, NCC, Mr. John O. Asein, urged publishers to understand the needs of young readers, many of whom were “born digital” and, therefore, more comfortable with electronic devices.

He pointed out that publishers have the responsibility to make more books available in formats that the reader would be most comfortable with in order to bring back the reading culture. He reasoned that it was time to invest in e-books and provide children with cheaper access to e-libraries to compensate for the dwindling numbers of well-stocked libraries.

The Director-General also observed that although the activities of copyright pirates might be misdiagnosed as helping to make books available to readers, it was indeed a cancerous growth and unless brought under control, would kill the book industry in Nigeria.

Stated he: “The Nigerian book industry and the sustained production of reading materials are under threat by copyright pirates and like other criminals, unless their illicit and parasitic activities are checked, they will destroy the very industry that they live on, leaving society with a famished book sector”.

The Director-General reassured of the Commission’s commitment to reducing the piracy index in the interest of publishers, booksellers, authors and other investors in the creative sector.

Mr. Asein expressed concern over the growing sophistication of the pirated copies, “many of which compete with originals in quality, thereby making it more difficult for copyright operatives to detect”. He advised publishers to support the Commission’s initiative to introduce anti-piracy devices for use in the book industry.

The Director-General further reiterated the Commission’s resolve to stamp out street sales of books and other copyright works, arguing that street vendors have become a major source of pirated works.

Thanking Prof. Gana for his open endorsement and show of support for the renewed antipiracy campaign, Mr. Asein called on well-meaning Nigerians to also identify with the efforts of Government and shun suspicious books and other copyright materials in the interest of the creative economy.

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