As the world marks World Intellectual Property Day on April 26, Chairman of Audio Visual Rights Society of Nigeria (AVRS), Mr Bond Emeruwa, has said that despite the boom the Nigerian creative industry has witnessed, many creatives are yet to adequately benefit from it, mainly because of piracy.
He said this in a statement to mark this year’s event which has as its theme, ‘Digital Creativity: Culture Reimagined.’
“Given that we live in a digital age where digital revolution has been the game changer in all sectors, it may be assumed that stakeholders in the creative industries are only enjoying the blessings of digital creativity,” Emeruwa said.
“But a closer look at the nexus between intellectual property rights and digital creativity would show that the challenges faced by creators in the digital landscape are quite intricate and enormous, with direct impact on the future of the creative content economy.
“Central among such challenges is the menace of digital piracy – the unauthorized reproduction and commercial exploitation of copyrighted materials available in electronic form. Available digital piracy statistics within and outside Nigeria would show how deeply this debilitating cancer has eaten into our creative economy and denied us unimaginable revenue which, in most cases have truncated the creative efforts of practitioners leaving them jobless after investing heavily in their respective creative processes.”
Emeruwa then said, “AVRS would like to use the commemoration of the 2016 World Intellectual Property Day to mobilise public support towards the eradication of digital piracy, not only as it affects the film industry, but the entire creative sector.”
World Intellectual Property Day was established by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2000 to “raise awareness of how patents, copyright, trademarks and designs impact on daily life” and “to celebrate creativity, and the contribution made by creators and innovators to the development of societies across the globe.”
AVRS is Nigeria’s sole collective management organisation for cinematograph films
The AVRS boss also commended efforts of the Nigerian Copyright Commission towards actualizing the implementation of the Copyright Levy (on Materials) order 2012 but beckoned on the Federal Government to hasten its implementation
“The time has come, however, when we, the stakeholders must take it upon ourselves to embark on a sustained campaign to ensure the implementation of the Order, which would go a long way to reduce the cancer of digital piracy,” he said.
“Nollywood, apart from its contribution to Nigeria’s GDP, has become a powerful window of international good will to the country. It has attracted development partnerships and foreign direct investments in the creative sector, thereby employing thousands of Nigerians and taking them off the streets.
The least the Federal Government can do for Nollywood and the entire creative sector is to implement the Copyright Levy (on Materials) Order, which is already operational in most countries, including West African countries like Ghana. It is long overdue.
Its continued delay is beginning to appear as a calculated denial of our entitlement by government. I am hoping that we shall not be constrained to take to the streets or embark on other alternative campaign media before our genuine demand is granted.