NCC Partners MOPPAN, Set To Re-Introduce Hologram Stamps

The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), in collaboration with stakeholders, will soon reintroduce the hologram scheme to boost copyright regulation and anti-piracy interventions in selected copyright industries.

Director-General of NCC, Mr. John O. Asein disclosed this recently in Abuja while receiving a delegation of Motion Pictures Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN) and Arewa Film Makers Association of Nigeria (AFMAN) led by MOPPAN National President, Dr. Ahmad M. Safari.

Mr. Asein stated that the Commission would collaborate with the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) and all relevant stakeholders to ensure that the reintroduction of the hologram stamps would strengthen the Commission’s renewed enforcement drive by aiding the identification of genuine copyright works.

The Commission and MOPPAN representatives also discussed various strategies to sanitise the production and distribution channels in the movie industry, particularly in the northern part of the country. He noted that while much of copyright dealings were now online, there was still a huge volume of works in the physical space.

Expressing regret that some vested interests had scuttled the implementation of the hologram scheme when it was first introduced by the Commission over two decades ago, he indicated that the scheme would be reintroduced to run first as a voluntary scheme and eventually be made mandatory for certain categories of works. “All we want is to have a credible, a security marker that would enable the average man on the street distinguish between original and pirated copyright works. This would strengthen the anti-piracy drive of the Commission and enhance copyright protection,” he stated.

The Director-General also expressed concerns about the proliferation of dubbing and voice-over of foreign movies which he said constituted copyright infringement under Nigerian copyright law and warned perpetrators to desist from such illegal acts. Observing that the Commission has a duty to protect the interests of foreign copyright owners as much as other countries have obligations to protect Nigeria’s copyright interests, he cautioned that the Commission would intensify efforts to arrest and prosecute all forms of criminal copyright infringement.

“We must take necessary steps to check the infringing voice-over of local and foreign movies. We may have to combine our powers over piracy with the powers of the NVFCB over uncensored movies, first to enlighten the public and eventually clean up the streets of such criminality across the country” he stressed.

Decrying the socio-economic damage that pirates and copyright thefts cause, Mr. Asein reassured MOPPAN that the Commission would continue to institute and implement policies that would further encourage and secure investments in the copyright industry while making piracy less attractive.

“Nigeria at 60 gives us the creative sector an opportunity to look inwards and celebrate Nigeria. I assure you that, going forward, the Commission will be available to walk the streets and markets with you to send the message in very clear terms that Nigeria is not a dumping ground for foreign movies, with or without voice-over. We should promote this administration’s policy of Nigeria first in the entertainment industry”, he stated.

He appealed to film makers to patronize only legitimate replicating and duplicating plants to further discourage piracy.

The Director-General urged stakeholders to support NCC’s regulatory and enforcement initiatives, stressing that despite the challenges of inadequate operational facilities, the Commission remained committed to discharging its statutory mandates.

He gave an assurance that the Commission would review and provide practitioners in the various copyright industries with model contracts to help safeguard their rights and promote rancour-free copyright dealings.

The Director-General also disclosed that the Commission has introduced major policy initiatives to respond to the peculiar needs in the copyright industry, such as boarder and international ports policing, the Online Enforcement Unit, the regulation of duplicators, as well as intensified raids of piracy hotspots across the country.

Speaking earlier, the National President of MOPPAN, Dr. Safari identified the main challenges undermining the growth of the movie industry as piracy; illegal voice-over on foreign movies in the Hausa language; unauthorised content upload on social media platforms; and lack of model contractual agreements in the film industry.

While appreciating the efforts of the Commission at repositioning the creative industry, Dr. Safari urged the NCC to sustain its partnership with stakeholders across all the sectors of the copyright industry.

The MOPPAN National President was accompanied on the visit by the Chairman, MOPPAN in the F.C.T., Alhaji Habib Barde Mohammed; National Coordinator of Arewa Film Makers Association of Nigeria (AFMAN), Alhaji Ahmad Turaki Kaka and MOPPAN Secretary, Mr. Dalhatu Sule.

Directors of the Commission in attendance were the Director, Regulatory Department, Mr. Augustine Amodu; Director, Nigerian Copyright Academy (NCA), Mr. Mike Akpan; Director of Enforcement, Mr. Obi Ezeilo; and the Director, Public Affairs, Mr. Vincent A. Oyefeso.

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