The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) have strengthened their collaboration on the development of border policing and new anti-copyright piracy strategies.
NCC Director, Public Affairs, Mrs Funmilayo Adewale, disclosed this in a statement that the collaboration was to renew measure to encourage creativity and boost Nigeria’s creative economy.
According to her the agreement was during a courtesy visit by the Director-General, NCC Dr John Asein to the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), Adewale Adeniyi, in Abuja.
She said the heads of both agencies have acknowledged the strategic importance of intellectual property, particularly copyright to the growth of the country, while adding
“The two agencies are commitment to introduce ICT driven proactive measures and enhance their operations through training and intelligence.
“Sharing as envisaged in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to check copyright piracy and other illicit activities in the copyright sector,” public affairs director said.
She said Asein expressed optimism that the provision of section 168 of the Nigeria Customs Act, which specifically grants the Service powers to detain, arrest and seize any material that infringes the Copyright Act would complement the criminal provisions of the new Copyright Act.
The director-general said that such section would help to strengthen border policing and the anti-piracy efforts of the two agencies.
He appreciated the CGC and the management of NCS for helping the Commission to deliver on its mandate in the fight against piracy.
Asein also noted that the Commission would introduce a pre-import notification system to facilitate the clearance of genuine imports of copyright materials and make the detection of illicit imports easier.
He confirmed that the Commission was working with book publishers to introduce anti-piracy stamps for use on books to discourage pirates.
The director-general, who described importers of copyright works as smugglers, assured the CGC that the Commission will identify with the renewed war against all forms of smuggling and rid Nigerian ports of pirated materials.
He therefore warned Nigerians who collude with foreigners to import pirated books to desist and patronize legitimate channels for their imports.
Responding, the CGC commended the Commission for its proactive and sustained drive in rebuilding the nation’s copyright system.
He urged stakeholders to come together to promote and protect the copyright system.
“Here at Nigeria Customs Service, we will do the best we can to ensure that this sector gets the desired attention” CGC said.
According to him, there is need for more awareness creation, capacity building on copyright matters and joint training programmes for entry and exit point officers, as pirates are devising all manners of tricks to outsmart officers.