Vanguard (Lagos)

30 April 2013

Nigeria: Create Sound IP Policies in Nigeria, Microsoft Tells Govt

Unless a sound intellectual property policies were created by Nigerian government to spur innovation in local economies, the fight against piracy may remain unabated, the global software giant, Microsoft has said.

At the celebration of World Intellectual Property day (IP) held last week in Lagos, the software giant noted that the use of non-genuine software threatens legitimate businesses and create enormous negative impact on the global economy, as well as a way out of the quagmire.

"Software piracy and the efforts to illegally profit from counterfeit and pirated software have become increasingly sophisticated and complex, which is why it is so critical to continue to work toward stronger, more effective IP protection," Juan Hardoy, director, EMEA Anti-Counterfeiting and Digital Crime, Microsoft, who spoke at the just concluded Seventh Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy in Istanbul said.

According to him, "Microsoft is dedicated to educating consumers and businesses on the real risks they face from the dangerous malware, viruses and spyware that so often result from counterfeit and pirated software."

Supporting the call for the creation of sound IP policies in the country in a penal discussion, Adefolu Majekodunmi, Partner Director, Microsoft Nigeria, who chaired the discussion, said, "A good legal framework and proper enforcement is what is needed to create the enabling environment needed for the development of creativity and innovation," he said.

Also recognizing that piracy hampers the innovation , popular artiste, Lanre Dabiri, said, "Piracy suppresses innovation! A lot goes into nurturing an idea or product to fruition.

"When this idea gets stolen, it means you cannot recoup the resources that went into putting your thoughts together and this is unfair to the artiste or property owner", adding that , "I have over 400 songs catalogued in the music industry for 15 years and to date I have not made up to N1 million in royalties due to lack of intellectual property rights law".

For Mr. Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, CEO, CMC Connect, if an enabling environment that protects and develops intellectual property was established in Nigeria, revenue would be generated for the government and individuals, and jobs will be created.

While commending Microsoft for putting together and supporting the day set aside for intellectual property , he further charged the Presidency to take the lead in recognizing and addressing the ills associated with intellectual property as a menace for developmental growth.

He said that that IP should go beyond the day set aside for it saying, "We should not just have IP day, we should have IP week, IP month and even IP year to further drive the message on intellectual property".

As content providers in the entertainment industry, Gozie Onumonu, Head of Anti-Piracy, Multichoice said that there was a wrong perception about IP crimes in the country .

" Nigerians do not see piracy as a hard crime rather it is regarded tak as a soft crime where perpetrators are treated with levity", said, adding that Multichoice is spearheading a new wave to support intellectual property protection in the country, one of which is payment of royalties for airing local music and movie content on their platform.

According to him, there was an urgent need to reform the copyright law to protect intellectual property."Intellectual property rights needs to be enforced to protect creativity and innovation," he said.

For Microsoft Nigeria Anti-Piracy Manager Temofe Ugbona, there was need to join hands in the fight against piracy, adding that, "I think the onus lies with us to make the necessary changes as citizens of Nigeria. A deeper sense of moral responsibility must emanate from us individually.

Remember, it is Nigerians that make up government, private sector, schools and every single part of the nation. And once we individually live with this awareness, then we are on the right pathway to salvaging the future of Intellectual Property in this nation.

Remember awareness and moral responsibility will ultimately lead to IP becoming another viable source for economic growth".

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