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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid