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Cablegate: Nigeria: Motion Picture Association Threatens to Leave In

VZCZCXRO3371
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #0619/01 0951017
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041017Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2517
INFO RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS PRIORITY 9018
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 000619

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT PASS TO USTR (AGAMA)
TREASURY FOR DPETERS, RHALL
USDOC FOR 3317/ITA/OA/KBURRESS
USDOC FOR 3130/USFC/OIO/ANESA/DHARRIS
USDOC FOR USPTO - PAUL SALMON
USDOJ FOR MARIE-FLORE KOUAME

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON KIPR PGOV NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: MOTION PICTURE ASSOCIATION THREATENS TO LEAVE IN
JULY; COPYRIGHT COMMISSION ENFORCEMENT CRITICIZED

REF: A. LAGOS 59

B. 2007 ABUJA 2508
C. 2007 ABUJA 2436
D. 2007 LAGOS 767

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION OUTSIDE USG

1. (SBU) Summary. In two separate meetings with the Nigerian
Copyright Commission (NCC) and International Federation of
Phonographic Industry (IFPI), it is clear that there exists poor
cooperation between industry and the NCC on IPR. The NCC claimed a
December 2007 raid shut down two optical disk (OD) plants; however,
the IFPI countered that the plants were shut down for the wrong
reason and soon after were reopened. IFPI asserts that the NCC has
failed to use its new authority under the one year old Optical Disk
(OD) legislation to properly clamp down on pirates. The NCC
contends that industry provides little assistance with its efforts.
According to IFPI, the NCC is ill-equipped to enforce copyright
protection and Director General Adewopo only pays lip service to
copyright enforcement without taking the needed action to prosecute
copyright offenders. The Motion Picture Association plans to pull
out of Nigeria in July 2008 because it views the situation as
deteriorating; IFPI is also considering closing shop. End Summary.
.
Optical Disk Legislation Implementation
---------------------------------------
.
2. (SBU) On March 25 Embassy Economic Officers met with Akeem
Aponmade and Willem Von Adrichem of IFPI. Since meeting with the
Embassy in November 2007, Von Adrichem lamented that he has not seen
progress on IPR by the NCC. He said there has been positive
collaboration between IFPI and EFCC, however, the lead agency on IPR
- the NCC has failed in its mandate.

3. (SBU) The IFPI reps said that since the OD legislation was
enacted in 2007 the NCC has not taken appropriate action against
plants suspected of producing pirated materials. IFPI reported that
there are 18 optical disc replicating plants in Nigeria. The OD
legislation requires that all OD plants apply to the NCC and receive
approval for their operations. Since the law took effect, 16 plants
applied to the NCC and none had been granted approval to operate
until 2008. During this period 18 plants were churning out optical
disks. IFPI asserts that under the OD regulations, the NCC should
have closed all 18 plants until approval was granted.

4. (SBU) IFPI confirmed that the NCC raided and sealed two optical
disc replicating plants in December 2007. However, it claims that
the NCC's action was based on the failure of the plants to apply for
regulatory approval, not on the basis of piracy. According to IFPI,
the sealed plants were soon after reopened following submission of
applications to the NCC.

5. (SBU) Moreover, IFPI contends that the 16 other plant
applications were approved recently by the NCC even though IFPI has
evidence that several plants are producing pirated goods. In
response, the NCC said it has conducted a pre-inspection exercise on
12 of the 18 existing disc replicating plants, and the registration
of the plants is ongoing. IFPI underscored that the NCC is only
interested in the application fees paid by the plants and not really
serious about combating piracy, because plants that were raided in
the past were also granted approval recently.
.
NCC Seeks More USG Collaboration
--------------------------------
.
6. (SBU) During a meeting with EconOff and Nigeria Desk Officer on
March 18, NCC Director General Adebambo Adewopo commended
collaboration between the USG and the GON in building NCC staff
capacity through the various Global Intellectual Property Academy
(GIPA) programs of the United States Patents and Trademark office
(USPTO). The USPTO with Embassy assistance has provided a series of
GIPA training programs that more than 18 GON IP officials have
participated in the last 12 months. NCC supports more collaboration
in capacity building and seeks increased collaboration on IPR
outside of the TIFA framework.

7. (SBU) Adewopo said that the training has positively improved NCC
staff work quality, especially GIPA best practices. To build upon
the GIPA program, NCC is establishing a Copyright Institute using
the train the trainers' model with USPTO GIPA graduates as

ABUJA 00000619 002 OF 002


facilitators. NCC reported there are plans to include other law
enforcement agencies such as the police and customs in the training.
He encouraged assistance for the NCC's Copyright Institute, and
welcomed the idea of his meeting with Embassy Law Enforcement
Working Group to discuss cooperation.
.
U.S. Industry Missing in Action
--------------------------------
.
8. (SBU) Adewopo passionately called for U.S. rights owners to
establish a presence in Nigeria either directly or through an agent
and requested the USG to encourage U.S. companies to do so. He
asserted that this will improve IP enforcement in Nigeria because
their presence and involvement in identifying pirated materials will
assist enforcement and prosecution. In the same vein, he suggested
that there needs to be organized distribution channels for various
works, because presently there are no organized distribution
channels for most foreign and domestic works, thereby giving pirates
an opportunity to carry out their activities. The NCC contended
that Microsoft's presence in Nigeria has resulted in successes
achieved in combating software piracy.
.
Industry Pulling Out of Nigeria
--------------------------------
.
9. (SBU) Von Adrichem commented that in his role as regional
coordinator for the Middle East, South West Asia and Africa
(covering 77 countries) the IPR climate in Nigeria is the most
bizarre and getting worse. As a result, he reported the
international movie industry represented by MPA is pulling out of
Nigeria on July 1, 2008. He said IFPI expects that the
international music industry may also terminate operations in
Nigeria.
.
Comment
-------
.
10. (SBU) In an effort to improve the IPR climate in Nigeria,
Embassy Abuja and Consulate Lagos are working closely with the U.S.
Copyright Office and U.S. Department of Justice to host a seminar on
optical disk enforcement in July. At the same time, the Embassy is
working with USTR and other agencies to push for progress reports
and substantial improvements via the TIFA IPR quarterly digital
video conferences.

SANDERS

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