On November 4, 2010, Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes announced the seizure of 10,000 counterfeit Nollywood DVDs from nine Brooklyn video stores. The recovery, named “Operation Access Nollywood” is the start of an investigation into the counterfeiting and illegal sale of Nigerian movies in the United States. According to the New York Post, the American market for Nollywood films is estimated at $20 million per year, compared to the $250 million African market.
Per Hynes, ““The sale of bootleg and counterfeit goods deprives the city and state of New York of millions of dollars in sales tax revenue, at a time when we all need it most, and it deprives the artists who made the movies of their well-deserved proceeds.”
The seizure was precipitated by a complaint to the District Attorney’s Action Center from Tony Abulu, President of the US-based Filmmakers Association of Nigeria. Abulu said, “The sweat and blood of Africa, both on the continent and in the U.S., will not go to waste.”
Now that US law enforcement officials have prioritized protecting the intellectual property of Nollywood filmmakers on American shores, all eyes are turning to their Nigerian counterparts. What is stopping a raid on this scale from happening in Lagos, where the impact will be ten-fold?