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Copyright Treaties Ratification will Advance the Nigerian Film Industry – NCC

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The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has assured stakeholders in the Nigerian Film Industry that the recent ratification of Copyright Treaties by the Commission offers great opportunities to the creative industries.

The ratified Treaties are the Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT), WIPO Treaty on Audio Visual Performances and the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled.

Special Assistant to the Director-General, NCC and Director, Regulatory Department, Mr. Mike Akpan gave the assurance while representing the Commission, at a roundtable during the 35th Session of WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights in Geneva.

According to him, some of the benefits to be derived by the film industry from the ratification and eventual domestication of the treaties include: foreign investment in the industry, strengthening of contractual obligations beyond domestic borders and facilitating enhanced capacity of the industry through strategic intervention of Government.

In his presentation at the event, Mr. Mike Akpan provided a background to the Copyright Reforms of the Nigerian Copyright Commission and noted that the reform was necessitated by the need to strengthen the copyright and enforcement framework to enhance the competitiveness of the creative industries in the context of digital environment and knowledge based global economy.

The event themed “Developments in the Copyright field in Nigeria and their Potential Impact on the Growth of the Nigerian Film Industry” was organized by the International Federation of Film Producers’ Associations (FIAPF) in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations.

The highly interactive meeting was centered on the recent decision by Nigeria to ratify the WIPO Copyright Treaties, the ongoing review of the copyright laws; and how to build new opportunities for funding, distributing Nigerian films and widen its international reach.

The Chairman of the event and Senior Advisor, FIAPF, Mr. Bertrand Moullier, a Senior Advisor, in his address also expressed optimism that Nigeria’s recent decision to ratify four major international copyright treaties will have a positive impact on the Nigerian Film Industry.

Mr. Moullier observed that the Nollywood, is one of the most prolific entertainment industry in the world, having in terms of volume production, the highest number of productions per year. He stressed that it is no doubt imperative that its creators and entrepreneurs now seek a stable system of regulation and legal incentives in order to take the dynamic sector to the next level of a major force in local job creation and GDP grower of the Country.

Discussing the Draft Copyright Bill, Professor, Bankole Sodipo noted that there are some remarkable improvement on the present Copyright Law, which includes the provision that captures, the right of Broadcasting for films, as well as the right of making available of films, these he said were in line with the provisions of the WCT and WPPT.

According to him, other similar provisions are on Technological Provision Measures as well as Rights Management Information, inclusion of a provision on transfer of rights of performers and the right to share in revenue for exploitation of their fixed performances. He also spoke on the expansion of exceptions and limitations which includes provision to grant access to works for the benefit of the blind and visually impaired persons.

Mr. Kunle Afolayan, a film Producer and Director, reacting to questions regarding the state of rights enforcement as part of domestic challenges, stated that the industry has had challenges of piracy, stressing that this hyped by inadequate enforcement mechanisms of the public agencies.

He however noted that with the current reform of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, and in particular the prospects of the new copyright law, the industry looks forward to a better reinforcement and rights protection regime.

Speaking at the event, the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to United Nations in Geneva, His Excellency Ambassador Audu A. Kadiri, appreciated the efforts of FIAPF and WIPO for creating a platform to discuss issues relating to Nigeria’s film industry.

He thanked all the participants and assured that the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is taking necessary steps to promote policies that will support and reposition the entire creative industry of the country.

Other presenters at the session include Mr. Tonye Princewill, a Port Harcourt based film Producer, Mr. Allain Modot, an International Film Distribution Agent, based in France and distinguished delegates from member states of WIPO as well as Senior Officials of WIPO.

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StarTimes to Crash Subscription by September 1

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StarTimes said it will reduce subscription fee for its Classic bouquet from N2,600 to N1,900 come September 1, with the inclusion of Ebony Life TV, ST Nollywood Plus and Fox and ST Kids to the bouquet.

 

The pay-TV company also declared a one-month free access for all its subscribers starting from August 1 to 31 on all decoders, irrespective of subscription status to ensure customers have access to its new channels, available on the Classic bouquet.

 

Kunmi Balogun, the company’s public relations manager, saidthat “This reinforces our commitment to ensuring that our customers enjoy the best for less.”

 

Balogun said: “Starting from September 1, all StarTimes subscribers will enjoy more entertainment for less. With the addition of new entertainment, movies and kiddie’s channels. We are aware of the economic challenges faced by many Nigerians and have resolved to allow them watch all our new channels for free this August and reduce our subscription rate come September 1.”

 

The company added that it seeks to enrich the lives of its customers across the various territories where it operates. “We are constantly looking for new ways of delivering more value to our customers with the best local and international entertainment.

 

“We want to do our bit with this offering. While others are increasing prices, we find ways to lower ours to ensure customer satisfaction,” he added.

 

 

 

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MURIC Boasts it Got NBC to Ban Falz Video

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Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has said that after unsuccessfully trying to get Falz, a Nigerian singer to take down his viral video “This is Nigeria” they ‘ambushed’ him using National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

 

Recall that the NBC had a few days back banned the song it alleged is “laced with vulgar lyrics”.

 

But in a statement, Monday by Ishaq Akintola, MURIC director, claimed credit for the NBC’s action adding that they avoided going to court as that might take years to resolve.

 

“We asked Falz to withdraw the video or we would sue him,” the statement read.

 

“Instead of showing remorse he dared us. We knew he could delay the court case for years because he is a lawyer and he would use every trick in the books to frustrate us. That was why he was boasting.

Falz, a Nigerian singer

“Therefore, instead of going to court, we decided to ambush him by sending a petition to the video board. This week, the NBC banned the video and others like it.

 

“He should be the one to go to court now if he likes. Let him go and show how brilliant he is in court.

 

“He and his fans laughed at us when we complained about his provocative and vulgar video. But there is no doubt that he who laughs last laughs best. It is hoped that Nigerian artistes will borrow a leaf from this episode.”

 

The group commended the NBC they said  “Falz and other artistes should encourage the youth to emulate our heroes instead of pushing them to ape rogues. Finally, we commend NBC and the video censors board for acting swiftly.”

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NGO Calls for Sack of Kawu, NBC Boss over Hate Speech

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Paradigm Initiative, Pan-African digital rights advocacy group, has called on the Acting President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to terminate the appointment of Modibbo Kawu as Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission, for alleged engagement in spreading hate speech.

 

The group made the call in a letter sent to the acting president last Wednesday, August 8.

 

The group urged the acting president to relieve the DG of the NBC of his duties “to allow for fair investigation of comments attributed to him and to serve as a needed example and precedent for politicians and public officers irrespective of political affiliation”

Modibbo Kawu

Mr. Kawu’s duty as the Director General of the NBC entails ensuring that the execution of the policies of the commission and its day to day administration is carried out smoothly.

 

The organization further noted that “in carrying out this responsibility… several sanctions and heavy fines have been imposed by the DG against radio, television stations and media houses who have been adjudged as promoting “anti-democratic” content such as misinformation and content capable of inciting violence or causing disaffection in the polity.”

 

However, a Premium Times report on the 5th of August 2018 revealed that Mr. Kawu engaged in posting a string of undemocratic messages on a Whatsapp group of northern editors and intellectuals.

 

In the said group, he made statements of tribal and ethnic implications; capable of inciting hate.

 

According to Boye Adegoke, Program Manager in Paradigm Initiative, “Given the sensitive nature of Mr. Modibbo’s position and role in the affairs of the NBC, it is highly unbecoming of him to be seen creating and promoting such inciting content.

 

“Not only are his actions inappropriate and unbefitting of a public servant but also unacceptable of the Director General of the Commission responsible for amongst other things, regulating and controlling the broadcasting Industry in Nigeria.

 

“At a time when the Nigerian government is putting in efforts to curb fake news, hate speech and harmful content, it is almost laughable that the very person put in the frontline of championing this cause is reported to be engaging in acts such as this,” Adegoke concluded.

 

Paradigm Initiative ended the letter reminding the acting president that Nigeria is a democratic nation in which no one should be above the law and in which equity and justice prevail.

 

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