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The Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC) says it has advanced strategic measures to check circulation of pirated books in the country.

Mr John Asein, the Director-General (DG) of the commission, disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Lagos on Thursday.

He spoke sequel to an Intellectual Property (IP) Symposium hosted by the Office of the International Intellectual Property and Computer Hacking Attorney Advisor, Department of Justice & Embassy of the U.S, Nigeria and American Business Council, of which the NCC was a key partner.

“I can assure there are concerted efforts among various levels of stakeholders to ensure that once and for all we say No to Piracy.

“This is because our mantra is that `Piracy Steals, Piracy Kills, Piracy Destroys’ and we will not allow it to destroy our economy, steal from authors or kill the creative sector that we all cherish in Nigeria.

“We are engaging with critical stakeholders and having a better collaboration among agencies, we have done the diagnosis and identified the gaps.

“We can tell for sure that we have a more robust buy-in from stakeholders and we have more information coming,’’Asein said.

He said that as schools were resuming, their officials were going to schools to ensure that pirates do not begin to use the schools as outlets.

“Schools have become an easy outlet for them, where they send books and nobody ever checks that; we are looking out on how best to address books on the streets.

“As we have also seen that a lot of pirates send their books out to the streets, we are talking at the state level with different authorities to ensure that we begin to clean the street of those books.

“We will clean the airports of pirated books and we will visit hotels where pirated books are being sold.

“Then, having cleaned those soft areas, we will find the best strategy to hit at the pirates.’’

According to the DG, the commission has good tracking mechanism and will ensure the footprints of piracy are eliminated.

He told newsmen that beyond the monetary loss to piracy, there are also psychological and social concerns.

“If one begins to put monetary terms to piracy, it will be unfair to those who are losing so much, to those many people who have died under the weight of piracy.

“If you know how many people who have taken loans and never recovered because of piracy, then you will understand that it is more than just in monetary terms.

“I say this because we have cannot even quantify the enormous loss ; filmmakers and entertainers have lost their monies and even lives due to the outcomes of piracy.

“A lot of publishers today are just barely surviving, they are struggling because piracy has eaten deep.”

He said many pirated books were on their way to schools and bookstores while the genuine publishers were struggling to even have 10 per cent of what the pirates were turning out get to the market.

“This kills the system, it kills the industry; it’s not just money, our creative sector is under threat,’’ he said.

Asein urged citizens to buy original materials, books and films.

He warned that those found engaging in book piracy would be sanctioned by the law.

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