Movie Stakeholders March Against Piracy In Lagos
The centre of Commerce in Nigeria(Lagos state) hosted yesterday a unique and exciting march —— of movie stars and producers.
It was not to promote a new work but to fight a common enemy – piracy.
They carried placards denouncing the evil that steals the gains of their sweat and creativity as they marched on the seat of government at Alausa.
Nollywood practitioners, such as Tunde Kelani, Tunji Bamishigbin, and Gabriel Okoye, aka Gabosky, led the entertainment collective to, once again, demand from the government, a more decisive measure to curb piracy.
Notable Actors and actress that were involve in the event are, Jide Kosoko, Yemi Solade, Iyabo Ojo, Abbe Lanre, Niyi Johnson, Sunkami Omobolanle, Yomi Fash Lanso, Goriola Hassan and Jesse King. There was also a lot of singing and chanting all the way, which was led at various times by actor Yemi Shodimu and comedian Funky Mallam.
One of the speaks Gabosky, said “We have located the den of these pirates. We have identified those involved but we don’t have the legal backing.”And those that we spent six years prosecuting were given three months of imprisonment or option of N10, 000. That is the law of our country.
”For instance in India, it is death penalty. Also in United Kingdom, they have gotten anti-piracy squad that clamp down on anywhere they find pirates. In America, anyone found guilty of piracy is sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.”
Thanking the filmmakers for their choice of action, Fashola urged them not to give up in the fight against piracy. Describing the industry as self-driven, the governor said that efforts are ongoing to stop the menace, especially in the area of legislation.“You will win this battle,” Fashola said. “For as long as it takes to get it right, I will be on your side.
Let me also be clear that stealing of intellectual property called piracy is not a local crime. No nation has successfully overcome it, but they have managed to put them under significant control by some of the measures.”
Tackling piracy, Governor Fashola added, will require a lot, especially given that it is a technologically enhanced crime. “We have been working as a government, behind, trying to see how we can help you create applications or softwares that make duplication difficult, if not impossible. There are some things that have come up but we are still working on that. We will probably have a homegrown solution to this scourge.”
According to the governor, “One of the measures we also think can help is investing in community cinemas because through this, you can beat the pirates to the game. And in one weekend for instance one can make all his money and that is what happens in India.
“We have to attack from many fronts. And this campaign has to be bigger than the All Progressives Congress, APC campaign at the last elections,” he said.
One of the biggest losers, Kunle Afolayan, who lost millions of naira to the activities of pirates, however, remained calm throughout the procession which culminated in seeing the Lagos State governor. He however expressed optimism on reversing the trend.
“Hopefully, with this kind of movement, I want to believe we’ll bring an end to it (piracy),” Afolayan said. “It is not only my film that has been pirated. There are several films that have been pirated. And with the oneness of the industry, I want to believe we will combat all of these.” Some of the titles seized yesterday include October 1, Figurine, Ije, Imole tan, Yellow Card, Phone Swap and 30 Days in Atlanta have been all over the town and are even being sold in the traffic.
Highlighting the gravity of the situation, Afolayan said the pirates have the effrontery to show it to legitimate producers. “Before we know it, the industry is going to shut down. There won’t be an industry. Some of the practitioners would have to go to Ghana or neighbouring countries to practice. If we can’t make ends meet in our country even with all the efforts and struggles an average filmmaker puts into this. And, I’m not talking for just film. I’m talking for copyrights for people in the arts.”
Afolayan also urged Nigerians to stop patronising sellers of pirated movies. “If you boycott them,” he said, “they’ll know what they are doing is not right.