MultiChoice holds anti-piracy roundtable, advocates industry collaboration

By Ralph Tathagata

Determined to champion the battle against piracy and proffer strategic remedies, MultiChoice, Africa’s leading entertainment company, took a bold step to address the rising challenges by hosting an anti-piracy roundtable. The event, tagged “Piracy Untells Our Stories”, had key industry thought leaders, who led discussions from disparate professional perspectives, in attendance.

According to the organisers, the aim of the roundtable is to foster collaboration among key stakeholders, develop strategies and proffer solutions in the ongoing battle against content theft and how it impacts industries, resulting in loss of revenue and jobs.

The event, which was held on November 22, in Lagos, facilitated in-depth discussions, knowledge sharing, and the formulation of effective countermeasures to combat piracy in the digital age.

Executive Head of Content and West Africa Channels at MultiChoice West Africa, Dr. Busola Tejumola emphasized the need to host such an event where the objective is to exchange knowledge, encourage collaboration between industry players, discuss and develop initiatives to raise public awareness about the consequences of piracy and the importance of supporting legitimate content as piracy is a shared problem.

“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 defences 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,” she said.

During the panel discussion, Victor Okhai, President, Directors Guild of Nigeria, stated that proper communication is key in the fight against piracy. “The biggest challenge with fighting piracy is that we do not communicate in the language that the common man understands. I think the messaging from the Nigerian Copyright Commission and concerned bodies have to be tailored to the audience,” he said.

Legal Practitioner and Intellectual Property Expert, Obafemi Agaba, reiterated that understanding the danger of piracy is a key strategy in the fight against piracy. “We need to let people understand the danger piracy causes to talent. MultiChoice and other relevant parties need to advocate for funding of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) in the fight against piracy.

Other members of the panel include Charles Amudipe, Deputy Director, Operations, Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) Lagos; and Chinenye Nworah, Producer of Slum King.

Providing fresh analyses and perspectives of intellectual property theft and how perpetrators innovate and adapt in response to shifting technological advancements, the panelists cited tangible cases and described the wide-ranging nature of piracy, including the spectrum of persons involved.

Ultimately, the panelists unanimously demonstrated that piracy is not just a Nigerian but global problem, a form of fraud, a white-collar and organized crime that must be collectively and strategically tackled to save the creative industry.

MultiChoice recently earned the prestigious Promax Awards 2023 for its pioneering campaign, Piracy Untells Our Stories and has invested over $85 million in local content in the last two decades, creating opportunities for young creators to earn a living from their work, an investment the company states is under threat due to the negative effect of piracy.


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