Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has arrested a Hong Kong citizen and two others allegedly in the act of pirating the works of Nigerian and foreign artistes in a nocturnal anti-piracy raid on Akina Music International Limited.
Mr. Sook Allen, the Hong Kong citizen has since been granted bail following the seizure of his international passport by a federal high court in Ikeja.
A press statement by Vincent Oyefeso, assistant chief public affairs officer, NCC, stated that copyright inspectors comprised of the Commission’s personnel and armed mobile policemen at midnight, swooped on the premises of Akina unannounced, but encountered a barricade for a while during which workers frantically evacuated,.
On gaining entry, the inspectors found that three out of the four installed replicating lines were running and a good search of the premises revealed stowed-away, freshly produced suspected pirated products and stampers, which were consequently confiscated.
The impounded products were mainly musical and movies on compact discs and video compact discs. Among the confiscated products were the works of D-Banj, Darey, Ikechukwu and several others.
NCC says it would soon charge and prosecute the company “for piracy of copyright protected works.”
Adebambo Adewopo, director-general of NCC, said the Commission would soon apply appropriate sanctions as prescribed by law against the infringing plant to serve as deterrence and a clear signal of its zero-tolerance against piracy, in line with the Commission’s Strategic Action against Piracy (STRAP) programme.
He disclosed that NCC recently responded to various complaints about optical discs piracy, and released the Optical Discs Regulations (ODR), to check the illegal replication of CDs, VCDs and DVDs, which has now brought it at loggerhead with the replicating plants.
The Copyright boss recalled that the Commission had in April 2007, in alliance with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), raided the same Akina plant during the day but found no evidence of piracy.
“This is the first night operation that the Commission has undertaken to address the nocturnal strategy for perpetuating piracy in the country,” he said, adding that the copyright industries should expect more of such surprise enforcement measures in line with STRAP.
A list of impounded products signed by both parties include over 20 stampers allegedly submitted by Akina’s clients for replicating protected works, 40 cartons of suspected pirated works, and 10 spindles of recorded works.
Adewopo has however, expressed concern that piracy has cost the creative industry a huge loss over the years and has become the bane of its growth, thus enjoining all stakeholders to be up in arms in the fight against intellectual property infringement.