News / Africa

Nigerian Artists Plan Anti-Piracy Task Force

A boy sells a music CD along a road in NIgeria's oil hub city of Port-Harcourt July 8, 2010.
A boy sells a music CD along a road in NIgeria's oil hub city of Port-Harcourt July 8, 2010.
Heather Murdock
Music piracy is so prevalent in Nigeria that most people do not consider buying original copies of the albums they want.  Nigerian musical artists say the practice is killing what could be a booming industry and they are gearing up to fight back.  
 
The country has copyright laws, but by shopping in the markets, you would not know it.  Newly-released Hollywood movies sell for less than $3 and CDs cost about 95 cents.
 
Ranking Deezed is the president of Performing Musicians and Employers Association of Nigeria.   The organization has about 100,000 members.  He said the Nigerian music industry has the potential to become an economic success - like Nigeria's "Nollywood," the third-largest film industry in the world.

“Artists are increasing.  Talents are increasing.  In fact, studios are increasing," Deezed noted.  "We have producers that have studios in their homes.  But then the market is what’s the problem.”
 
What happens in the markets, he said, just about cuts out any chance the artists have of making a profit from their music.  Original CDs are released and sold for a little over $3.  But if the music is good, he says, the market is swiftly flooded with copies sold wholesale for less than 25 cents.

“We learned of some companies, or let me say pirates, in Lagos that duplicate almost like 10 million copies in almost like a week or so.  So that is really bad,” he said.
 
Dezeed said his organization is setting up a task force to catch music pirates and turn them in to authorities.  
 
In northern Nigeria, Copyright Commission law enforcement director Amadu Augustin Aleo said his organization has caught 170 people copying CDs or stealing music and marketing it as their own in the past six months. 
 
He said the punishment can be a more than $1,500 fine or prison time, but the commission needs more support to slow the growing piracy business.
 
And musicians say it is not just people copying CDs and selling them in the markets that is hurting their ability to profit from their work.  They say their music is also regularly shared illegally on the Internet or through mobile-phone ringtones.  

Jerry Marshall has recorded seven albums and said he has been ripped off by pirates more times than he can count. H said the new task force could change all that.

“My advice to those marketers, those who sell music, those who pirate music.  They should be very careful because the law will soon come to them,” Marshall warned.

But he acknowledged that outside the arts community, most people in Nigeria - a country facing security crises, natural disasters and widespread abject poverty - do not care about music piracy.
 
And in this Abuja market, like markets all over the country, young men sell CDs and DVDs openly from stalls or piles in their hands.  Many offer money-back guarantees if the copy does not work.

A lot of Nigerians know they are buying pirated entertainment.  What is not commonly known, is that there is anyone at all who objects.  

Ibrahima Yakubu contributed to this report from Kaduna

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost-Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More