• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

Piracy, bane of Nigeria’s publishing industry – NPA boss

The president, Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA), Ngwobia Okereke, says the major problem threatening the publishing industry in Nigeria is book piracy.

Book piracy is illegal and illegitimate reproduction of other people’s intellectual property for economic reasons, without prior consent or authorisation.

Okereke, who disclosed this at the annual conference of the Association in Ibadan recently, tasked the Federal Government to urgently step up the enforcement of the copyright laws, revitalisation of libraries as well as special algorithms to detect illegal downloads, security printing devices and moral suasion.

He commended the Nigerian Copyright Commission for “doing its best in reforming the copyright system and taming the big piracy problem in the country.”

The NPA boss urged the government not to rest on its oars until sanity was totally restored to the system.

On the proposal by the Federal Government to introduce a new tariff regime of 50 percent levy on imported printed school books, he said the Association was still having a dialogue with government on the matter with a view to arriving at a permanent solution before December 31, this year, “so that we do not carry the problem over to 2015.”

The conference had in attendance stakeholders from all the states of the federation with theme: ‘Nigerian Book Industry, National Development and Government Policies,’ and presided over by the doyen of publishing in the country, Joop Berkhout, chairman of Safari Book Limited.

He also spoke on the implications and catastrophic effects of imposition of tariffs on school books. He mentioned those things to include that “tariff will impose high tax on books and further deny our students, academics and the general public access to knowledge, which is imperative.

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“Tariff will impose a prohibitive cost on universities, polytechnics, particularly their libraries, in meeting universally acceptable accreditation and standards and further erode knowledge and education. Tariff will further under develop Nigeria.

‘’Tariff would create major dissatisfaction within the education sector, which is very negative to any government in power, neglecting education, depriving its citizen from essential tools of knowledge, which are already in short supply. Government is confusing publishing with printing.’’

Publishing is a whole series of activities involved in the making of a book of which printing is a final smaller part, he said, saying “our access to the body of world knowledge must not be restricted.’’

Remi Feyisipo