NCC To Conduct Documentation, Profiling of Booksellers, Printers

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The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has reiterated the commission’s readiness to carry out proper documentation and profiling of booksellers, printers and publishers to end book piracy in the country.

The Director-General of NCC, Dr John Asein, said this at separate meetings with the members of Booksellers Association of Nigeria and the Nigerian Publishers Association on Thursday in Ibadan.

Asein said documentation of stakeholders in the book industry became necessary because the commission had identified piracy as the major challenge of the industry.

According to him, the content of the new Copyright Act gives the commission the power to go after the assets of anyone involved in book piracy.

He added that the punishment for criminal infringement of copyright had been reviewed in line with the present realities.

“Every stakeholder must look inward towards strengthening the book industry and join hands with the NCC to bring change in the book industry.

“The documentation of stakeholders does not mean that we are compelling them to join any association.

“We are going to have a framework in form of Memorandum of Understanding with stakeholders followed by proper sensitisation on the provisions of the Copyright Act so as to easily isolate the book pirates who want to repent and unrepentant ones.

“Once it is established that assets are acquired through the proceeds from copyright infringement, the commission will go after such properties and it can be forfeited to the government.

“Booksellers must get documentation right and have evidence of where they purchase the books in their stores.

“NCC must know each bookseller, publisher, their locations and kinds of books they sell,” he said.

He added that the NCC had an arrangement with the Nigerian Customs Service to ensure that pirated books were not allowed into the country.

Asein, however, called for the review of Nigerian Publishers Association code of ethics.

The Chairman, Booksellers Association of Nigeria, Bere, Oritamerin-Mapo branch, Mr Sikiru Sanni, urged the NCC to help the union in regulating book pricing.

Also, the Vice President, Nigerian Publishers Association, Ibadan, Mr Lukman Dauda, expressed readiness of the publishers to work with the NCC to discourage book piracy in the country.

Dauda noted that piracy had made the book industry difficult for stakeholders to make profit and contribute to the growth of the nation’s economy.

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