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AY confirms 30 Days in Atlanta piracy

-block-buser movie sells for N500 in traffic and video sheds

Piracy – the age-long ill which has rendered Nollywood filmmakers paupers, denying them the fruits of their intellectual labours – has raised its ugly head again as Nigeria’s all-time highest grossing film, 30 Days in Atlanta has been pirated.

Traffic hawkers and road-side film shops are now selling the in-demand DVDs of the flick for a cool N500, as against N200 or N250 they sell other movies.

Some reports say a staff of Silverbird Cinemas stole the movie and sold it to Alaba marketers, who have in turn mass produced and distributed it. The movie is now sold on the streets, an infringement upon the producer’s copyright.

ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with the producer, Ayo Makun (AY) on the development. Here’s his reaction: “It is not a good news. Piracy has eaten into Nollywood and the entertainment industry as a whole. It is evil. A crime and nobody is doing anything about it. People who actually put in their time, resources, energy, creativity into a production are denied the rewards of their efforts by these Alaba elements. It is the time to rise and cry out. To our politicians and those in government, it is not about vote for me. Do something about piracy in the entertainment industry and you’ll have our votes as entertainers. I don’t blame Nigerians because they always buy things on the streets and in traffic, but the government that should do something just allows these Alaba elements to get away with the evil.”

Asked about the step he has taken to stop this act, he said: “Yes, I have written to the Inspector General of Police on it. Nobody is above the law. It is a criminal offence and we can’t fold our arms and watch. The regulatory bodies should come in and arrest these people like NAFDAC arrests people who sell fake drugs”.

On how much the movie has grossed in cinemas, he quipped: “I can’t give you the exact figures, but we are excited about the success of the movie so far. We recently premiered in Ghana, and we’ll premiering as well in the UK, in Canada and the likes”.

30 Days in Atlanta has broken all sorts of box office records in the cinemas since its release October, last year – emerging Nigeria’s all-time highest grossing film with N182 million. The award-winning movie features A-listers such as AY himself, Nollywood’s finest, Ramsey Nouah, Richard Mofe Damijo, Desmond Elliot, Omoni Oboli, as well as Hollywood’s Vivica Fox, Lynn Whitfield and Karlie Redd.

WHAT THE LAW SAYS ABOUT PIRACY (COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT)

– What is copyright, piracy

Copyright is the exclusive and assignable legal right given to the originator, author, playwright, composer, for a fixed number of years, to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or music materials. It covers literary works, artistic works, music works, cinematograph films, sound recordings, and broadcasts. Piracy, on the other hand, refers to the unauthorized duplication of copyrighted content that is sold at substantially lower prices.

– What is copyright infringement (piracy)?

According to section 15 of the Nigerian Copyright Act 2004, copyright is infringed by any person who, without the license or authorization of the owner of the copyright…

– does or causes any other person to do an act, the doing of which is controlled by copyright.

– imports or causes to be imported into Nigeria copy of a work which, if it had been made in Nigeria, would be an infringing copy under section No. 98 of the 1992 Act.

– exhibits in public any article in respect of which copyright is infringed.

– Penalty for copyright infringement (anti-piracy measures)

According to section 21 of the Nigerian Copyright Act 2004, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) shall have powers, with the consent of the Minister (of Culture and Tourism), to prescribe any design, label. mark, impression or any other anti-piracy device for use on, in or in connection with any work in which copyright subsists…

– Any person who sells, rents, hires; or offers for sale, rent or hire, any work in contravention of the prescription made pursuant to subsection (1 above) of this section commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N100,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both (fine and imprisonment).

– Any person who without the permission of the Commission –  imports into Nigeria; or has in his possession, any anti-piracy device prescribed under this section or any machine, instrument or other contrivance intended for use in the production of the anti-piracy device, commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N500,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or to both (fine and imprisonment).

– A person who, without the permission of the Commission – is in possession of; or reproduces; or counterfeits any anti-piracy device prescribed under this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N50,000 or imprisonment to a term not exceeding five years, or to both (fine and imprisonment).

ENCOMIUM Weekly confirmed that indeed pirated DVD copies of the movie are sold all over Lagos. We bought a copy for N500 along Thomas Salako street, Ogba at exactly 3:09 pm on Monday, February 16, 2015. We also spotted copies being hawked in traffic at Maryland, Ikeja (on Friday, February 13) and Iju-Ishaga (on Sunday, February 15).

-UCHE OLEHI and MICHAEL NWOKIKE

 

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