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

Multimedia Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

Americans Think About Strange Stuff at Thanksgiving

Millions of Americans are celebrating Thanksgiving, but they’re not necessarily thinking about turkey and stuffing

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

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs