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Film makers want stiffer actions against piracy




Movie producers and members of the entertainment industry yesterday staged a walk in Alausa, calling for stiffer penalties against piracy and other forms of intellectual theft.

The practitioners, numbering about 100, made the call while drawing attention to the perennial threats piracy poses to their profession.

According to them, piracy is a major albatross to the growth of the movie industry as it discouraged investments in film making and undermine creativity.

Speaking during the protest, ace movie producer, Tunde Kelani, said the trend had got to a dangerous dimension requiring a quick check.

Kelani said: “The trend of piracy we are witnessing now has assumed a dangerous level where films produced in Nigeria, still showing in the cinemas, are pirated and released, sold on the streets of Lagos before official release by the investors. This is destroying lives, property, business and the industry as a whole,” Kelani said.

Kelani who is the proprietor of Mainframe Productions, also sued for the elevation of piracy to the same level as armed robbery, financial crimes and narcotics.

Another producer, who claimed his latest film “October 1” had just been pirated before official commissioning, Kunle Afolayan, lamented the situation and called for serious legislation.

“I feel very perplexed because I have a distributor I work with. He distributes all types of films and he released my previous films- Phone Swap, Figurine, Irapada.

“We were just about to finalise on the distribution of my latest film titled ‘October 1’ when he (distributor) got a text from an informant at Alaba that those guys were about to release the film. I sent a text to some people in authority even to the governor but the guys still went ahead,” he said.

Afolayan advocated severe punishments for offenders, saying the existing legislation against the problem was too weak to serve as deterrence.

Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola, assured the protesters of the state government’s collaboration in the fight against piracy. He described the industry as a self-driven one that thrived even without any take-off grant from government.

Fashola saluted the courage of the film industry stakeholders to tackle the menace head-on. He, however, described the issue of piracy as a global problem which no nation had successfully eradicated.

“Piracy is a global phenomenon, but what has been done in other climes is that they have been able to reduce it to the barest minimum.

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