Experts advocate collaboration to tackle piracy

By Felicia Nwosu

Experts from different sectors of the Nigerian economy have advocated for collaboration among the creative industry practitioners, government agencies, stakeholders and the general public to tackle the menace of piracy.

Their advocacy came hard on the heels of the prevailing threat that content theft poses to content creators, with adverse effect on their revenue streams and job creation. They urged all and sundry to rise up and take proactive steps to effectively curb activities of pirates.

The discussants built their thoughts around the theme: ”The Economic Impact of Piracy: Lost Revenues and Jobs” during a recent roundtable organised by Multichoice. They lamented the devastating impact of content theft and how it endangers the existence of jobs. They added that piracy also robs revenues off the original content owners, thereby demoralizing Africa’s content creators the ability to tell their own stories.

Dr. Busola Tejumola, executive head of Content and West Africa Channels at MultiChoice West Africa, enumerated some  other challenges, aside piracy, confronting the successful execution of content creation in Nigeria and how the burden of  operational cost limits the goals of independent producers alongside.

“As we navigate the complex landscape of digital content distribution, it is imperative that we unite against the common threat of piracy. Piracy takes away all that a producer has worked for. Our event signifies a commitment to collaborative efforts where industry leaders come together to share insights, develop strategies, and fortify our defense against content theft. I urge everyone to join the fight against piracy. Together, we can ensure a vibrant and sustainable future for the creative industry.”

Noting the reason piracy has continued to rear its ugly head and plummet creators’ career to zero, Victor Okhai, National President, Directors Guild of Nigeria, attributed some of the factors to economic hardship affecting the purchasing power of the users. He added that many consumers patronize and encourage the thriving of pirated contents out of lack of awareness on the implication of the menace.

“It has persisted because people don’t understand or don’t appreciate the things that people go through. Are the public aware about the damage that this does? it has persisted because there’s not enough education. And again, it has persisted because of corruption, even among those who enforce anti-piracy.

“And another thing is that we have not been able to successfully and visibly pursue any piracy case to a logical conclusion. Because, when a person is jailed just for selling one DVD on the road, believe me, the next person will think about it and say to themselves, is it really worth it to go to jail?” he said.

He emphasized the need to speak in simple precise language to aid understanding while creating awareness.

Obafemi Agaba, a lawyer and an expert in intellectual property, on his part, blamed the menace on lack of professional knowledge of piracy laws by many court judges and advocated for more governmental roles and responsibility. He confirmed the presence of several challenges associated with achieving effective administration and adjudication of laid down laws against infringements, and the need for the government to engage in further training for capacity building of its professionals, and to also boost funding towards the fight against piracy.

Centering their conversations on what piracy does to the creative industry, the discussants advised the public not to remain oblivious of the reality of piracy in order to join hands to promote creative talents and stop the scourge from further impacting negatively on the industry and the economy.


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