Yinka Olatunbosun’s article “Searchlight on Intellectual Property” in This Day newspaper (Oct 14, 2012) describes a recent meeting on the issue of intellectual property rights held by the Nigerian Copyright Commission, academics, and apparently filmmakers (not questioned or quoted, but pictured on the website). Distinguished Professor of intellectual property law Adebamo Adewopo “observed that the effort of NCC in ridding the industry of piracy at Alaba, Onitsha and other parts of the country has invariably giving way to the new digital market online where indiscriminate downloads of songs, videos, pictures and other creative works now thrive. This development, he said,’requires a sound copyright law and a well focused enforcement strategy to reflect the current dynamics that rely on copyright system.’”
The challenge of re-writing the law to reflect the needs of Nigerian filmmakers and that of enforcing the law is a monumental one. What this article fails to note is that enforcement of copyright protection can aslo stifle Nollywood professionals. Does anyone remember the Censors Board’s hologram solution by which every video sold would require a hologram stamp from the Censors Board verifying its authenticity. Of course, each stamp costs the producers a fee.
Changing the law is one matter, but changing the delivery systems for Nigerian films is another promising path to follow. Filmmakers I have recently been speaking with seem more interested in the development of small-scale cinemas within Lagos. The solution is localized to Lagos State, but having the infrastructure in place could benefit all filmmakers seeking to recuperate their production costs.