Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Nigeria has proposed November 30, 2016 as National Anti-Piracy Day to promote efforts in the enforcement of laws to fight piracy and in repositioning the creative economy.
The date was proposed by the Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed, when the Caretaker Committee of the Performing Musicians Employers Association of Nigeria (PMAN) paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Abuja at the weekend.
PMAN President, Pretty Okafor had appealed for government protection from the activities of pirates, which he said had cost the industry loss of revenue put at N10 trillion through national and global piracy.
Okafor said the music industry was the biggest employer of labour in Nigeria and the fourth in the world with over 12 million people gainfully engaged. The industry worth is estimated at N15 trillion.
According to him the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is also unable to collect about N3.3 trillion or 20 per cent of combined Value Added Tax (VAT) from income tax for government on account of the activities of pirates.
After listening to the requests of the body, Mohammed endorsed the use of barcode in Nigerian movies and music as a measure to protect intellectual properties from undue exploitation. The order may take effect from January 2017.
He also advised the association to liaise with the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and other regulatory bodies to ensure the success of the new measure.
“You asked that we make a declaration making it illegal for NTA, FRCN and other radio and television stations from using any music or movie, which is not barcoded…I think what we should do is to work through the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), NCC and other regulatory bodies,” Muhammed said.
Barcode is a machine-readable representation of data, which provides information about the objects that carry such codes in the movie and music industry. It can be used to separate original works from fake ones, thus preventing buyers as well as radio and television stations
He also decried the loss of huge revenue through copyrights infringement, stressing that private investors are discouraged from investing in the industry because they are not seeing the opportunities.
He also enjoined players in the creative industry to buy into the innovative ways the government is employing to fight piracy through the Digital Switch Over in broadcasting by releasing their woks on line instead of producing CDs.
He said the government was working to turn the creative industry into a viable economy and appealed for private sector investment in production and post-production studios as a deliberate effort to curb capital flight to countries with hi-tech production infrastructure.
“If you can convince the private sector on the viability of the creative industry, you are going to see change. What the private sector needs are figures, data and balance-sheet,” he said.