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IP Expert Seeks Mandatory Copyright Registration, Whistle Blower Policy on Piracy

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Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has been urged to initiate a regulatory scheme for compulsory registration of copyright and a whistle blower policy to strengthen its renewed drive for enhanced copyright protection and effective anti-piracy enforcement in the country.

Dr. Abdullahi Saliu Ishola, an Intellectual Property (IP) lecturer and acting head of department of the College of Law, Kwara State University, Malete, made this call in Ilorin yesterday (6th November 2013) while delivering a guest lecture on NCC anniversary theme, “Changing the Copyright Narrative for Wealth Creation” as part of activities organised by NCC Kwara State Office in commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of the Commission.

Proffering some practical solutions towards changing the copyright narrative in Nigeria, Dr. Ishola stated that the Commission should initiate proactive measures to check the prevalence of piracy, engender positive attitude of copyright owners and enlist an active role for right owners in the copyright system.

Calling for a review of the Copyright Collective Management Organisations Regulations, he urged the Commission to invoke its discretionary powers in sections 38(1) and 39 of the Copyright Act to approve CMOs as its enforcement agents by appointing some of them as copyright inspectors.

According to him, “NCC should accredit NGOs as copyright activists like the Corporate Affairs Commission accredits lawyers, accountants and chartered secretaries to work for it as partners, relying on Section 45 of the Copyright Act which prescribes that the supervising minister can prescribe regulations for purposes of the Act”.

The senior lecturer opined that copyright registration should not be optional, adding that all educational materials “should be officially copyrighted so that when people want to study, the registered works will be a standard”.

He expressed concern that due to high cost, a lot of foreign books were being pirated and urged NCC to encourage foreign publishers to come and publish the Nigerian edition of their works in the country to reduce costs.

Noting that most authors were only interested in reputation, not really in wealth creation, he admonished NCC to introduce the ‘most economically viable copyright award’ to boost creative enterprise for national wealth creation.

Dr. Ishola who commended the NCC efforts at implementation of its mandates, canvassed for religious and cultural support for copyright, and underscored the need for awareness that Islamic law supports copyright through adoption of ‘waqf’ endowment for exploitation of religious works and creation of employment opportunities.

Chairman on the occasion, Prof. Olu Obafemi, represented by Prof. Abubakar Abdullahi, both of the Department of English, University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), in his remarks, emphasised that in order to change the copyright narrative for wealth creation in Nigeria, the scourge of piracy must be tamed.

Prof. Obafemi expressed concern that the copyright industry was not being adequately funded and decried the attitude of Nigerians in patronising cheap pirated works without minding the loss to copyright owners.

He noted that unduly long litigation constituted a drawback to the fight against piracy, adding that lack of incentive in the creative industry was a discouragement to creative enterprise in the country.

Mr. John O. Asein, Director-General of NCC, while appreciating the support of stakeholders in the State, reassured of the Commission’s partnership with the Kwara State Government and key players in the creative industry to enable a vibrant exploitation of the rich cultural endowments of the state, especially in the creative arts.

Mr. Vincent A. Oyefeso, Represented by the Director of Public Affairs, the Director-General stated: “Today, we are in the global era of knowledge economy and Kwara State can leverage on the copyright system to grow its state economy on a sustainable basis as well as contribute to the national economy. In this wise, NCC is committed to continue to partner with the State Government to attain its development goals, especially in the creative sector.”

He added: “The Commission is also committed to enhanced collaboration with all authors and stakeholders in the copyright based industry to change the copyright narrative for sustained and sustainable wealth creation and national development.”

In an earlier guest lecture, a Senior Lecturer in Faculty of Law, University of Ilorin, Dr. Kayode Adam, had noted that the current copyright narrative was inherited or borrowed from the British legal system, adding that Nigeria’s copyright policies should be based on its fundamental national values.

Commending the NCC for identifying the need for a new national copyright narrative, Dr. Adam stated that a new copyright narrative would serve three purposes, namely guide the adoption of a national copyright policy; assist judges in correct interpretation of our copyright law; help in creating awareness on Nigeria’s copyright values and law.

Honourable Awodiji Tayo Felix, Chairman of Kwara State House Committee on Land, Housing and Urban Development, in a goodwill message, assured that the State House of Assembly would support the Commission’s bid to review the Copyright Act in the interestof right owners and for sustainable development of the copyright industries and the economy.

Mr. Justina Akinwumi,  NCC State Coordinator, in her welcome address, stated that the NCC 30th Anniversary celebration was an opportunity for the Commission and all stakeholders “to come together to assess and analyse the journey so far and chart a way forward for economic development through creativity”.


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Microsoft Moves into 5G Race with Azure Cloud for Telecom Operators

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Microsoft Corp unveiled a new cloud platform on Monday aimed at enabling telecom operators to build 5G networks faster, reduce costs and sell customised services to business clients.

After banning China’s Huawei from its telecom network, the U.S. government has been pushing big American companies such as Microsoft to get more involved with 5G – a technology which promises to enable everything from self-driving cars to remote surgery and more automated manufacturing.

The new platform will be on Azure, Microsoft’s flagship cloud computing business, and the company says it will reduce infrastructure costs, give flexibility to add services on demand and use artificial intelligence to automate operations.

Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president for Azure Networking, told Reuters that it could cut costs by 30%-40% in some cases.

The developer of Windows and Office software entered the 5G arena after its acquisition of cloud networking companies Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch earlier this year.

“The telco DNA was obtained through those acquisitions and we went from a small number of engineers in this space to literally hundreds of engineers,” said Khalidi. “On the other hand, the foundational pieces, including edge compute, we have had in a pipeline for many years.”

The company has already partnered with companies ranging from telecom operators such as Verizon VZ.N and AT&T T.N to network equipment firms such as Samsung 005930.KS and Mavenir to either use or sell the new platform to clients.

Microsoft’s move will increase competition for existing 5G service vendors like Nokia NOKIA.HE and Ericsson ERICb.ST, said CCS Insight analyst Nicholas McQuire.


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Interior Ministry Boosts Digitization Process with New ICT Projects

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Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Interior, over the weekend commissioned the e-Library, e-Law Library, CCTV Surveillance network services and other projects in his office in Abuja to digitize work processes and procedures in the Ministry.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Georgina Ekeoma Ehuriah, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola said that the projects were part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts at repositioning the Ministry for better performance in line with its mandate of providing internal security and citizenship integrity for Nigerians and foreigners alike.

According to him, the e-Library will avail officers the opportunity to access the right information, in the right form and time.

“The e-Library gives our legal and other officers 24/7 access to a wide range of online resources, which can be updated in real time and we believe this will enhance the quality of their work to the benefit of the Ministry”, he said.

The Minister further assured of government’s commitment to putting in place measures that will boost staff capacity and also ensure self-development, with a view to ensuring proper implementation of projects, policies and programmes that will improve the lives of Nigerians which would lead to economic transformation in line with the present Administration’s policy thrust.

Aregbesola emphasized that crime and criminality has become complex to handle, the world over, hence the need to deploy modern technology to fight it.

He therefore called on staff to see the projects as morale booster for self-development and urged them to continue to support the efforts of government towards improving the lives of its citizens.

Earlier, Lanre Adesuyi, the Chief Executive Officer, Havillah Merchants Limited, thanked the Minister for giving them the opportunity to provide workers with state of the art equipment for efficient service delivery.

On his own part, Mr. Mohammed Mustapha, the Managing Director, Aliph Technologies, called on government at all levels to see the deployment of modern technology as one of the best ways to tackle security challenges in the contemporary world.


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Heritage Bank, PWC, Deloitte Canvass Use of Tech to Tackle Fraud & Rescind Effects of Covid-19

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Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s Most Innovative Banking Service provider has called on internal auditors of banks to adopt the various digital technologies to prevent fraud and annul the adverse impact of Covid-19 on the financial ecosystem.

Ifie Sekibo, managing director/CEO of Heritage Bank, speaking at the just concluded 47th Quarterly Meeting of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN), disclosed that for improved banking operations and safer financial system for stakeholders, internal auditors must be dynamic and quick to adopt various digital measures.

Raising the alarming impact of fraudulent activities in the banking sector, Sekibo quoted PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PWC’s) Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2020, revealing that that the total cost of cybercrimes is worth an eye-watering $42 billion, which was cash taken straight off companies’ bottom line, whilst 13% of those who had experienced  fraud said they had lost $50 million-plus.

Sekibo, who spoke on the theme, “Elevating Internal Audit’s Role in the Face of Emerging Risks and Opportunities” organised virtually and hosted by the Heritage Bank, urged, “While it was sufficient for yesterday’s auditor to understand regular and routine banking practices such as credit, treasury, etc in his traditional assurance role, for him to be relevant in harnessing the opportunities in today’s business world, he must become versed in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, data analytics, fraud management, regulatory pronouncements, forensics etc and having equipped himself, present balanced, objective audit reports to Executive Management while striking the right balance between the assurance and consulting responsibilities.”

In her keynote address, titled, “Elevating Internal Audit Role In The Face Of Emerging Risks and Opportunities,” Ibukun Beecroft, Partner Risk Advisory at Deloitte, noted that the banking industry in Nigeria today has adopted various digital measures to keep the business running and delivering services to the customers but there was need for Internal Audit (IA) positioned to provide the required assurance and consulting services in the face of the changes and attendant risk, particularly increased cyber-risks.

Quoting 2018 Financial Stability Report by the Central Bank of Nigeria, she stated that Banks recorded 25,029 confirmed cases of fraud and this resulted in a loss of N2.21 billion. More than 90% of fraud cases in 2018 were perpetrated via technologically driven channels.

“As Internal Auditors, the knowledge of technology would enable us identify gaps in our core banking applications and other applications and provide relevant recommendations to eliminating loopholes that may serve as an avenue for potential fraud.

She, however, advised auditors on the need to focus on advanced technologies and risk management operations as reflected around the Three Lines of Defense (3LOD) churned out by the Institute of Internal Auditors, which create opportunities for IA and its future role.

Beecroft warned that the ever-changing landscape and evolving risks in the banking industry could render the current internal audit plan obsolete.

According to her, internal auditors should reprioritise the audit plan as soon as possible to provide assurance over the most consequential risks while being cognisant of the impact on operations.

“To take advantage of these changes and disruptions, auditors need to rethink their role by adapting to and embracing change, enabling the IA function to become more agile, nimble, and forward-looking, thus driving change through the 3LOD,” Beecroft stated.

Yetunde Oladeji, director Internal Audit Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers Limited (PWC), who spoke on the theme, “Elevating IA’s role to meet today’s emerging risks,” advised that the banking sector should be dynamic, prioritse digitization and flexibible workforce strategies as these would determine its ability to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances to survive and thrive.


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