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Cablegate: Nigeria: Private Sector Speaks Out On Ipr,

VZCZCXRO9846
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHOS #0357/01 1381444
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181444Z MAY 07
FM AMCONSUL LAGOS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8932
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 8745
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RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 LAGOS 000357

SIPDIS

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WARSAW FOR LISA PIASCIK
CIUDAD JUAREZ FOR DONNA BLAIR
ISTANBUL FOR TASHAWNA SMITH
SAO PAOLO FOR ANDREW WITHERSPOON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EIND ETRD KIPR NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: PRIVATE SECTOR SPEAKS OUT ON IPR,
ENCOURAGED BY NEW LEGISLATION

REF: ABUJA 683

LAGOS 00000357 001.2 OF 003


1. Summary: Since 2004, Nigeria has seen a proliferation of
Chinese-operated optical disc (OD) pirating factories. The
International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI)
has pressed for more effective enforcement and new
legislation to make piracy as difficult as possible for these
operators. IFPI officials believe the new legislation, the
Copyright Optical Discs Plan Regulation 2006 (CODPR), will
give the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) the enforcement
power heretofore lacking. End summary.

----------------------------------
OD Production Develops in Nigeria,
And Piracy Follows Along
----------------------------------

2. From virtual nonexistence five years ago, OD production
has grown to 14 known factories with 51 production lines
among them. While some factories engage in legitimate
business, IFPI and the NCC estimate the level of piracy at
around 90 percent of production. Much of this OD piracy
comes from an influx of Chinese-operated factories to
Nigeria. Iain Grant, IFPI Head of Enforcement, told
pol/econoff IFPI has been focusing attention on Nigeria,
trying to slow down illicit production. While halting piracy
is near impossible, IFPI would like to use existing
legislation and enforcement to stymie production, according
to Grant. IFPI's primary objective is to concentrate on the
OD factories and their exports, as well as DVD imports from
East Asia. Pirating for the domestic market is of secondary
importance.

----------------------------------
Raid in 2004 a First Step for IFPI
----------------------------------

3. The Nigerian government's (GON) IPR enforcement has so
far been desultory. The NCC was tasked with tackling piracy,
but has been troubled with a lack of political will to
effectively handle the problem. The poorly-funded and
fragmented NCC has been no match for the pirates; the
enforcement agency is so riddled with informants that
enforcement operations are stymied by leaks of sensitive
information, according to the IFPI. However, Willem van
Adrichem, Regional coordinator for IFPI, commented that the
GON was "seriously embarrassed" in 2004 when law enforcement
raided the Akina Industries and Nasinma Universal Studio
plants in Lagos. These raids helped highlight the problem of
piracy to the GON.

4. IFPI was disappointed the court cases against the plant
owners made little headway. Van Adrichem said the process
foundered; the actual case evidence was somehow burned and
lost. Even now, IFPI suspects the Akina plant is still
involved in piracy. Van Adrichem said when he visited the
factory, despite it being involved exclusively for domestic
production he saw only Chinese employees. The Managing
Director had a pile of US dollars on his desk, and van
Adrichem wondered aloud how all this foreign cash became
available if this plant was only intended for domestic
production. Other well-connected factories have escaped
scrutiny as well. Magnet Integrated Ventures, another target
of IFPI, is part-owned by Vice-President Atiku Abubakar's
son, Adamu, and according to IFPI is well-protected by the
police.

--------------------------------------------- ---
New Legislation to Battle Piracy Encourages IFPI

LAGOS 00000357 002.2 OF 003


--------------------------------------------- ---

5. The need to find a dedicated enforcement body with
sufficient powers led IFPI to enlist the assistance of the
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). IFPI
officials tied OD piracy to the EFCC's campaign against
corruption and 419 scams, and the EFCC's broad mandate allows
it to cover piracy matters and intellectual property theft.
The EFCC's willingness to assist lends a strong enforcement
body to the battle against piracy and this development has
been encouraging to IFPI, van Adrichem remarked.

6. In March, IFPI met with the Ministry of Justice about the
upcoming OD regulations, which were eventually signed and
published as CODPR (reftel). These regulations give the NCC
authority to conduct unannounced inspections and more
effectively prosecute violators Grant said the new
regulations, coupled with adequate enforcement could
eventually make things so difficult for the pirates they
would have to depart Nigeria. Grant thought a key to
catching the perpetrators was to get the imported
polycarbonate data from the Deputy Chief Comptroller for
Customs. Polycarbonate is a key ingredient for disc
production, and IFPI could match the polycarbonate data with
reported legal production to determine which of the factories
committed the most piracy.

--------------------------------------------- -
Local Artists Will Benefit from IFPI's Efforts
--------------------------------------------- -

7. The domestic market has received less attention from
IFPI, though the new legislation was largely passed to
protect the local entertainment industry. However, attitudes
in Nigeria's Nollywood movie and recording industry also need
to change. The local Adobe office has complained that
Nollywood uses pirated products. IFPI's National Coordinator
for Nigeria, Akeem Aponmade, has coordinated the local
IPR-awareness campaign by working with local vendors to
change attitudes toward piracy.

8. Working with the Audio and Video CD Sellers Association
of Nigeria, Aponmade believed he has made headway in slowing
the pirating of local works. When Aponmade presented at the
Association's monthly meeting, over two hundred vendors
attended. The key, Aponmade felt, is to use peer pressure to
change attitudes. After receiving permission from the
police, Aponmade visited vendors at the Otigba "Computer
Village" in Lagos to encourage reform and educate vendors
about respecting local IPR. Aponmade collected fake products
from vendors which he gave to the Association's Chairman for
burning, and he has asked Nu Metro, a local media company
which produces copyrighted works, to lower their prices so
vendors could afford to sell legitimate works.

-------
Comment
-------

9. Nigeria's efforts to enforce IPR have so far been
ineffective, but IFPI's optimism is not misguided. The new
legislation is a landmark in battling IPR piracy and with
effective enforcement should make an impact. IFPI has so far
been disappointed in the work of the NCC, but has found a
willing partner in the EFCC, and the new legislation should
encourage the NCC to be more aggressive in its prosecution.
One ancillary effect of IFPI's efforts is that stricter
enforcement will assist the domestic movie and recording
industry. These developments will take time and continued

LAGOS 00000357 003.2 OF 003


monitoring to see if Nigeria will make progress in reducing
IPR piracy.
BROWNE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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