The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in collaboration with the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has intercepted 672 cartons of pirated books worth N20 million.
The Director Public Affairs, NCC Mr Vincent Oyefeso, made this known during an inspection of the intercepted pirated books at the Tin-Can Port, Apapa Lagos, on Thursday.
The intercepted pirated books include: Macmillan Champion Primary Mathematics – Books 3, 4 and 5; Beginner’s Bible Stories owned by Specialty Books, New York; New General Mathematics for Junior Seconday Students, Books 2 & 3 owned by Pearson Nigeria; Beginner’s Bible Stories owned by Specialty Books, New York.
Oyefeso said the collaboration between the NCS and the commission was an indication of its zero tolerance stance against piracy and to enhance the anti-piracy intervention of the commission.
“Piracy is a very endemic crime in the country. It kills creativity, destroys the economy and it steals from the copyright owners.
“With our proactive collaboration with our stakeholders, we got intelligence of the importation of a whole container of suspected pirated books of different publishers and we alerted the NCS and were able to intercept and impound the container.
“We are here to send a clear signal to the barons of piracy in this country, both those who are importing and producing locally, that this heinous crime will no longer be tolerated by the NCC.
“The commission is going after all infringers of the Copyright Act and is committed to prosecute all suspects,” he said.
Oyefeso assured that the commission would not relent in the protection of all genres of copyright works – books, music, software, artworks, broadcast, movie, saying “the interest of copyright authors, owners and the creative industry will be protected.”
He, therefore, called on stakeholders to provide useful and relevant intelligence that would help in the fight against piracy.
Mr DeraNnadi, Deputy Comptroller of Customs in-charge of Enforcement at the Tin-Can Port, said the container was initially declared as Holy Bible publications, however, they discovered that they were pirated books.
According to Nnadi, who represented the Customs Area Comptroller, Mr Baba Abdullahi Musa, the owners of the container contravened the relevant Customs and Excise Management Act (SEMA), Section 161 which is untrue declaration.
“We have details of the suspect, the declarant, details of the importer country of origin and we are going to share the intelligence with the NCC to help their investigation.
“The whole essence of this exercise is to protect the original copyright owners so that we would promote intellectual rights, protect government revenue and ultimately provide security for the nation,” he said.
Nnadi advised members of the public who are in the business of importation and cargo clearing to take advantage of the training opportunities of the NCS to learn more about the rules and laws.
“Part of the ways of being strictly compliant is to seek enlightenment and knowledge.
“We encourage other would-be importers to learn from this experience because this eventually maybe money lost, if found wanting. So, we are willing to offer knowledge to our stakeholders,” he said.