The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) is poised to promote the ease of doing business in the creative sector of the national economy, the Commission’s Director-General, Mr. John Asein, has disclosed.
Asein who disclosed in Abuja yesterday said the Commission is being repositioned to align the performance of its statutory mandate with the Federal Government’s policy direction in the Economic Recovery and Governance Project (ERGP).
Asein, who was the immediate past Executive Director of Reproduction Rights Society of Nigeria (REPRONIG), a collective management organisation in the publishing genre, spoke while receiving stakeholders from the book industry led by Chairman of Nigerian Book Fair Trust (NBFT) and President of Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA), Mr. Gbadega Adedapo, who paid him a courtesy visit.
Noting that copyright piracy was a threat to the ease of doing business, the Director-General stressed that the Commission would pursue its zero tolerance policy across all copyright sectors against piracy nationwide.
He also indicated that the Commission would collaborate with the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to facilitate early adoption and implementation of the National Book Policy.
The Director-General expressed worry that piracy injures the creative industries from inside and outside the country, and added that safe corridors would be created for authors and publishers to grow their business as major contributors to the nation’s economy.
He assured the delegation that problems associated with the marketing and distribution particularly in the book industry would be examined and addressed, adding that the copyright system must be solution-driven and should strive to proffer solutions to the peculiar needs of every section of the creative industry.
“The Commission will build a cross-border network that will enable it trace the movement of books within and outside Nigeria. We must do everything to grow the industry”, he stated.
The Director-General hinted that the Commission would soon implement the provisions of the Copyright Act that make it mandatory for publishers to keep registers of works, noting that it is a criminal offence for producers of copyright works not to keep such a register. He added that the modalities for the implementation would be worked out with stakeholders.
Asein urged stakeholders in the book industry to consider exploring e-platforms for the sale of books, adding that the Commission would complement this by focusing on checking piracy on those platforms.
“The Commission will also be working with the blind community and we hope the book industry will support us in the implementation of the recently ratified Marrakesh Treaty to make books more accessible to persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled,”
Speaking earlier, Adedapo called on the Commission to come up with a functional system for regulation of booksellers as another strategy to curb the exploits of pirates.
The NPA president expressed appreciation to Present Muhammadu Buhari for his wisdom in appointing a competent hand who understands the challenges of the copyright industries.
In his remarks, the President of ANA, Malam Abdullahi stated that the DG, having worked creditably as one of the stakeholders, should deploy his rich experience to actively drive the development of the creative industries. “We request for more attention on protecting the book industry,” he stated.