The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has issued a warning to schools to desist from patronising book pirates in order to curb the menace in the country.
The Director General of NCC, John Ohireime Asein, stated this at a stakeholders’ town hall meeting at the Education Resource Centre organised by NCC and the Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA) in Abuja.
Asein decried that book piracy had been prevalent in the country, noting that it’s an intellectual property theft that resulted to huge loss of money by authors and publishers.
He said, “It is an unauthorised production and distribution of books to the general public without the knowledge of the right owner. Piracy is a menace to the society and needs to be tackled systematically to achieve sustainable results.”
The Zonal Manager of University Press Plc, Innocent Agbaanu, said book sellers did not bring in enough funds to the business.
Agbaanu said, “Looking at the budget of over N50bn of the publishing industry for all publishers, when you get to look at the financial capabilities of the book sellers, they don’t commit much to the business.”
On why they travel out of the country to print their books, he said, “Because of the challenges we have here in Nigeria, it is cheaper for us to print outside the country due to high cost of power, high cost of labour, cost of printing materials, paper itself is on the high side.”
To stop pirates, Agbaanu said there was the need to know where schools got their books from and also present their documents of purchase.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), Olusola Bankole, recalled that on annual basis towards resumption, they conducted training for teachers in order to put them through on how to use their books, but that it had not happened for some years now.
Bankole urged the publishers to ensure quality of books and that content should meet international best practices.