A music artist, Mr Frank Edward, has appealed to the Federal Government to ensure strict laws against piracy, to safeguard intellectual property rights in the country.
Edward made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Port Harcourt.
He said that piracy had recently become an issue of great concern in the country, noting that laws to stem the menace were being strictly enforced.
Edward is pleading that the federal government should take urgent steps to contain the menace.
He noted that the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN), which is saddled with the responsibility of protecting the intellectual property rights of Nigerian musicians have rather failed in their duty, leaving the artists to struggle in self-help.
“I think that PMAN should be more interested in sponsoring to the National Assembly such a bill that rejects piracy in its entirety or seek for amendment of a section of the constitution in that regard.
“The trendy business in `Mixed Tapes’ is the highest form of piracy that has no law fighting it.
“For instance, a pirate who decides to pick a song each from different original albums to form his own album, even without copyright permission from the original owners of the work, cannot be taken to court because there is no legal basis in such matters in the country’s constitution.
“Pirates have now known they could adopt this dubious strategy without falling into the long arm of the law and they are making brisk business through Mixed Tapes, at the expense of the artists,’’ he said.
Edward further said that piracy does not encourage upcoming artists who may not be exposed to other international distribution networks to market their works.
“I feel sorry for the upcoming artists, for some of us who started a little early, we’ve found ways to market our songs internationally, both online and through other distribution networks.
“But for the upcoming artists who may have only the Alaba International Market in Lagos that is already flooded with pirates as their only distribution point, it is a big problem,’’ he said.
The artist said that piracy has grown worse, such that even genuine marketers now resort to collaborating with pirates to enable them to market their products for a specific time frame, before such works could be pirated.
“This time around, genuine marketers pay homage to pirates, to beg them to allow them sell their songs for a specific period.
“They enter into an agreement, saying please allow me sell this album for 2 years, before you begin to produce pirated copies, it is that bad,’’ Edward said. (NAN)