Mallam Nasir el-Rufai
The Federal High Court in Abuja, has convicted and sentenced three pirates to various jail terms for illegally printing the book, “The Accidental Public Servant” written by a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai.
The Director General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Dr. Afam Ezekude, who disclosed this in Abuja yesterday, said the commission had secured 40 convictions for various infringements of the copyright Act.
He said a Federal High Court in Lagos also sentenced one Ifeanyichukwu Nweke to six months imprisonment with an option of N1,000 fine for each count on a two-count charge of infringing the same book.
Similarly, on a two-count charge of having in possession and selling pirated copies of the book, the court also sentenced one Akamu Chibueze to three months imprisonment without any option of fine.
The convictions, it was gathered were sequel to anti-piracy operations carried out by operatives of the NCC in major outlets in Lagos, following complaints earlier received from the right owner.
Ezekude said the NCC had secured 40 convictions against different copyright offenders between January 2011 and June 2013.
The pirates were sentenced to various terms, including imprisonment, in some instances, without the option of fine.
A breakdown of the conviction profile revealed that the commission secured three convictions against pirates in 2011, 26 in 2012 and 11 between January and June.
He said the commission had on May 8, this year raided a printing press in Gbagada, Lagos, which is a notorious piracy haven, and confiscated an estimated N4 million worth of suspected pirated books of various titles owned by different publishers like Evans, HEBN, Learn Africa, Nelson, Africana First among others.
Ezekude further revealed that in a recent development, the Federal High Courts in Abuja and Lagos convicted five suspected pirates for their involvement in literary and broadcast piracyin Abujaand Lagos State respectively.
According to him, the convicts were earlier arrested by enforcement operatives of the commission following anti-piracy raids carried out to check the reckless activities of pirates in the country and subsequently charged to court while suspected pirated materials recovered from them were presented as exhibits.
The Director-General, while assuring stakeholders of the commission’s resolve in the fight against piracy, urged them to be more proactive in supporting its enforcement and prosecution activities.