The Nigerian Copyrights Commission (NCC) on Friday disclosed that Nigeria was losing three billion dollars (N918 billion) annually to activities of pirates.
Director-General (DG) of the commission, Mr John Asein, made the disclosure at the 2019 World Intellectual Property Day with the theme, `Reach for Gold’: IP and Sports,’’ held in Abuja.
Asein, represented by the Director, Legal Services, Mr Abdul TerKohol, urged government to put adequate, responsive and effective legal frameworks for the protection and enforcement of sporting and associated industries rights.
He said with the advent of new technologies, the task of sport-related copyright had become more daunting.
The DG also noted that the expansion of high-speed internet around the world, the proliferation of portable devices and the rise of online streaming platforms, had made tackling illegal exploitation of rights more difficult.
“Thousands of websites that illegally stream sporting and entertainment content in real time threaten the copyright in content.
“For full potential of the sporting ad associated industries to be realised, countries must put in place adequate, responsive and effective legal frameworks for the protection, administration and enforcement of rights.
“The intellectual property system, especially copyright, offers a practical and effective mechanism for achieving this.’’
According to Asein, intellectual property, particularly copyright, lies at the heart of the commercial exploitation of sports and contributes substantially to the growth of a community of players and fans whose net worth is more than 300 billion dollars.
He said that Nigeria occupied a unique place in the world of sports given its exploits and remarkable successes in various sporting events.
He urged stakeholders to continue to support government in its determination to build a functional copyright system that would deliver the expected dividends to right owners and guarantee sustainable development of sports.
Asein also advised beneficiaries from the intellectual property system to commit some of their earnings to rebuilding infrastructure required to keep the system functional.
He said the commission was prepared to collaborate with interested stakeholders to promote respect for intellectual property and complement government’s commitment to growing human capital in today’s knowledge-driven economy.
Director, Public Affairs of the commission, Mr Chukwuemeka Ngene, said the significance of the day was to raise global awareness on the nature, contribution and importance of intellectual property.