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NCC proposes bill on digital piracy, to impose two percent levy on DVDs, others

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja
27 April 2015   |   8:27 am
A Bill seeking to impose stringent penalty on digital (online) copyright piracy is being proposed by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC).
Afam Ezekude

Afam Ezekude

A Bill seeking to impose stringent penalty on digital (online) copyright piracy is being proposed by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC).

The Bill (Nigerian Copyright Act) which would be sent to the 8th National Assembly, when passed into law,would enable the commission collaborate with Internet Service Providers to identify the sites being used to carry out online copyright infringement, shut them down in order to bring the problem to the barest minimal.

Also, the NCC has concluded arrangements to impose two percent Copyright Levy Order on photocopying machines, phones, DVD’s and other digital product manufactured locally or coming into the country before the end of May, 2015.

Director General of the Commission, Afam Ezekude who disclosed this while briefing reporters in Abuja, explained that a minimal levy would be imposed on  materials like photocopying machines, phones and DVDs which can be used to infringe on people’s copyright adding that the levy is a way of compensating the copyright owners.

Ezekude noted that the Levy Order which has been gazetted was awaiting the nod of the Minister of Finance for its implementation. He said, “As we speak, the order is awaiting a nod from the Minister of Finance so that we start implementation, it is important that this levy order is implemented so that our right owners can get what is rightfully theirs.

Before the Levy Order was put in the gaze tte, we did the relevant consultations with the industry people that would be affected  like the Importers Association of Nigeria and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and they keyed into it before it was gazetted”.

According to him, the money derived from the levy would not go to government but to the right owners and would also help to boost the funding position of the commission as the commission would retain a percentage of the monies derived from the Levy Order for its anti-piracy operations and for promotion of creativity.

The DG recalled that the commission in November 2012 launched the reform of the Copyright Act which was intended to address the issue of internet piracy.

He further stressed that the world has moved to the age where piracy is carried out online, adding that government need to address the issue of digital piracy by making the penalty for copyright infringement more stringent to deter people from infringing other people’s work.

He observed that NCC was trying to bring the nation’s Copyright laws in line with international treaties Nigeria has signed , adding that there was the need to ratify those treaties  to make them part and parcel of the Nigerian Copyright law.

He noted that the commission in the last four years has carried out about 202 anit-piracy operations and arrested over 400 suspected pirates, secured 53 criminal convictions. Ezekude said that NCC has seized over six million items of pirated Copyright works valued at N6.5billion.