The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), last year, successfully prosecuted 31 copyright cases, 26 of which were criminal convictions of piracy and five civil suits.
The commission, between July 2011 and December 2012, however, secured 29 convictions of pirates of copyright-protected books, musical and movie works, broadcast signals and software products. The number of convictions shows a phenomenal increase from 10 convictions recorded by the commission in 10 years, between 2000 and 2010.
Director-General of NCC, Mr. Afam Ezekude, who disclosed these at a media briefing in Abuja Friday, also revealed that the commission, during intensified anti-piracy operations last year, arrested a total of 85 suspected pirates and confiscated 3,621,787 million units of pirated goods worth N4,379,431,000.00.
"This feat which had never been recorded in the 22 years of the commission can be traced to the enhanced surveillance activities of the commission's operatives, support of stakeholders, and more importantly, our synergy with the Nigerian Customs Service under our inter-agency collaboration initiative," he stated.
The director-general also revealed that the inter-agency partnership between the commission and the Nigeria customs has engendered the establishment of a protocol which makes it mandatory for any importer of copyright-protected goods to obtain a letter of clearance from the commission as a condition for clearance and release of such regulated goods by the customs.
He noted that the high point of the commission's enforcement measures in collaboration with the customs was the historic and unprecedented confiscation of a total of 13 containers of 3.6 million 3,613,315 units of pirated products, valued at N4.75 billion at different seaports in the country.
He pointed out that 11 of the containers were loaded with pirated books of Nigerian and foreign authors while the remaining two were loaded with pirated musical and film works of local and foreign titles.
The D-G stated that on January 25, 2012 in Epe, Lagos State, the commission also destroyed by public burning 722 million units of various categories of copyright infringing products impounded between 2007 and 2011, estimated at N6.5 billion.