SPECIAL REVIEW: TACKLING PIRACY IN NIGERIA, The Approaches
E-RAVE EDITORIAL (www.eraveng.com)
When a musician puts out a self funded, self released and professional recording, everything needed to get it to the point of release comes out of that musician’s pocket. Selling that product is essential to being able to keep creating music, yet many people feel no remorse for illegally pirating music or movies. Musicians/movie producers have bills to pay just like everyone else.
I’m pretty sure that the people stealing music wouldn’t be too pleased if they went to work day after day but never got a paycheck for it. Creative professionals deserve to be able to make a living too.
For the people who make their living creating and selling movies, songs, the effort to stop piracy has been a constant battle. Protecting intellectual property rights requires using several different approaches while adjusting to a marketplace with a never ending appetite for new content. Even though the general public may think of piracy as a victimless crime, this form of copyright infringement damages the creative professional’s ability to earn a living from his work.
The problem with Nigeria is that we make laws that are not enforced. Tackling Piracy at this time is not about making laws but going after the pirates and all their links. Money is the only thing being altered in piracy, so death penalty shouldn’t be applied. Pirates should be made to pay large sums of repayment and immediate shutdown of all their activities. Automatic 10 years imprisonment, with no free pass for being underage, because it’s for the war on terror, zero tolerance is also advised. Security operatives, especially Nigerian police have lots to do in this task.
Public education campaigns are typically considered the first line in the defense against piracy. To help stop piracy of DVD movies, for example, Nigerian film makers have been putting a short commercial at the beginning of select movies equating buying a pirated copy of a DVD to shoplifting. Individual artists and groups too must also enlighten their constituency about the dangers of piracy to their careers. Grassroots organizations must also work to educate the public about intellectual property rights through online marketing campaigns.
Technology has also been a key component in helping to stop piracy. In advance countries, music companies have been experimenting with ways to put anti-copying software onto the CDs they sell. Software programs can be created to require authorization codes or online registration forms that serve to make piracy more difficult because they are only given with legal copies. For downloadable content, digital rights management systems limit the number of devices that can play a particular movie or song in order to stop people from sharing unauthorized copies. On a similar note, some sites are selling downloadable files with a digital fingerprint that makes it possible to trace pirated copies back to the original source. Unfortunately, resourceful hackers and people in the piracy industry continue to find ways to get around these measures.
Lawsuits may also seem like an obvious way to stop piracy, but legal action is typically a last resort. With the global nature of the Internet, it is time consuming and expensive to track down all the parties that would be involved in a lawsuit. Piracy laws also vary from country to country, making enforcement rather difficult
Digitally, the way to stop piracy is make it easy to access content. Destroy the reason that people turn to piracy: because they want access to digital copies of movies and music. There are tons of people who would be willing to pay a monthly fee to be able to stream whatever they want whenever they want it. Not only would that be cheaper and less complicated than all this tracking and suing, it also creates a new revenue stream.
Words by Seun Apara