Nollywood actress calls for stiffer penalties for piracy

By Chioma Obinagwam
Famous Nollywood actress, Funke Akindele has called on the Federal Government (FG) to make the penalties for piracy more strigent.
She made this call while reacting to the recent arrest of suspected pirates, who allegedly run a N50 million worth piracy syndicate at Alaba International Market, Lagos State by the task force on uncensored and unclassified movies by the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB).
She said:”The government should, please, prosecute them. They need to be jailed, lengthy term. I was surprised to see the movies at the cinemas being pirated.”
Akindele, who is also a lawyer by profession, lamented how she has been a victim of piracy, with most of her works already pirated.
Corroborating, renowned reggae artist, Benjamin Edoja also called on everyone to fight the scourge which has grave consequences on film-makers and the economy.
He said: “Time has come now for every film-maker to fight these collective scourge called piracy. Enough is enough. We must take back our daily bread from these miscreants, and these parasites who are making us all beggars, and poor and wretched. “
Edoja who is popularly called Benny Paladin noted that the business of film-making is highly rewarding despite claims by most marketers  that the business of film-making is unprofitable.
“There is money in film-making.  Have you ever asked yourselves why have they continued to steal our films in the name of piracy and not minding being arrested, tried or even ending in jail? There is money in film-making and this is our own birthrights, so we must defend it with all we’ve got. Let’s take back our businesses from these robbers . We must do that now, ” he continued.
Moreover, the FG seem not to be resting on their oars in ensuring stiffer penalties for piracy.
A review of recent developments in the legislation showed that the bill tagged, ‘a bill for an Act to Amend the Copyright Act, Cap. C28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Provide for stiffer penalties for Contravention of the Act and for Other Related Matters (HB. 987)’ has already passed second reading at the lower legislative chamber of the country- the House of Representatives.
The bill, which among other things, seeks the amendment of Section 21(1) of the principal Act to prescribe a N1 million fine in place of N500 thousand fine or ten years in jail as replacement for a five year jail term, for any individual who usurps the role of the Nigerian Copyright Commission by prescribing design or mark as anti-piracy to a work which copyright subsists.
Although the amendment of the Act is yet to be consummated, the confistication of the N50 million worth of pirated materials and equipment, Nigerians hope, would trigger a speedy passage of the bill.