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  • Nollywood group plans demonstration over copyright infringements

    A GROUP of Nollywood practitioners has risen against cases of illegal exploitation of film works going on unhindered in the industry. The group known as the Nollywood Alliance Against Copyright Infringements (NAACI), has therefore called on the relevant authorities, especially the Attorney General of the Federation to use his good offices to make sure that intellectual rights so far exploited illegally, especially in the film industry are adequately compensated.

    The group, which has concluded plans to stage a peaceful protest to the National Assembly to drive home its point, is also calling on the National Assembly as well as regulatory agencies like the Nigerian Copyright Commission to wake up to its duty in ensuring that some of the producers whose works have been violated by corporate entities no matter how highly connected are brought to book in the interest of fairness and justice.

    Spokesperson of the group, Uzee Madubogwu, a film director, said much as President Goodluck Jonathan has shown genuine interest in the growth of the industry, it was high time the government deployed necessary might in ensuring that works from the industry were protected. The group cited the case of Charles Uche Ayike, a notable Nollywood producer, whose works Arrows of Love (1&2) was illegally exploited by a cable pay station, MYTV without authorisation.

    According to them, the case has proven the unwillingness of relevant regulatory authorities to ensure that the rights of film producers are guaranteed, citing that the action of the cable TV station has brought untold hardship to the producer who lost all his investments in the project.

    Madubogwu said, “This case has seen petitions written to the Presidency, and we are still calling on him to look into matters of this nature. The facts of the matter has been documented by the Technical Adviser, Enforcement at the Nigerian Copyrights Commission, and it is clear that Charles Uche Ayika’s movie, Arrows of Love was shown on MYTV without the authorisation of the producer.

    “And when the producer confronted the pay TV channel, it stated through its lawyers that the rights was obtained from an agent, Guniks Ltd (headed by Godson Nwosu), who also said he obtained the rights from Romney Bright Productions, headed by Romanus Eze. If you obtain a copy of the report by the Technical Adviser Enforcement at NCC, a portion read: ‘In his statement, he admitted selling the movie to Guniks as he had earlier obtained the consent of the producer to sell the broadcasting rights. However, he failed to prove or show the evidence of his authority from the producer’.

    Further down the report also said: ‘Through oral evidence and cross examination it was glaring that the broadcast rights in contention was truly not obtained from the producer by the parties that sold the films to MYTV and the company did not take all appropriate measures to ensure the authenticity of owner’s consent before selling and broadcasting the movie”

    With such conviction by the NCC, the group wonders why MYTV was yet to be brought to book over the issue. “What we are seeing is that rather than NCC fighting to protect this, they are pursuing a case against Charles Uche Ayika for obtaining official documents relating to the investigation report as well as obstructing the duties of an official of the NCC.”

    Counsel to the producer, Ademola Oyedokun, when contacted on the phone said although the matter was still in court, he was optimistic that justice would be served at the end of the day, because he has confident in the Nigerian judiciary.

    Florence Utor: http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=124436:nollywood-group-plans-demonstration-over-copyright-infringements&catid=74:arts&Itemid=683

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