Nigeria: At CFC Conference, Stakeholders in the Film Industry Tackle Piracy

Regulation & Policy

Practitioners from the film industry, performing arts, advertising, scholars, and other stakeholders at the Board room of the Eko Hotel, Lagos, took turns recently to appraise the various ways the menace of piracy can be curbed to pave way for a flourishing entertainment industry in Nigeria.

Tagged, "Development Film in Africa II Conference and the Intellectual Property Rights Workshop, and which ran from Wednesday 13, through Friday, October 15, the highlight of the two-day event was the marking of the 10th anniversary of the Communication for Change(CFC), organizers of the event. It is a Nigerian non-profit development communications outfit, that has produced hard hitting documentaries on African social issues for a number of years, and distributed them across 32 countries.

Some of the practitioners that delivered incisive papers at the occasion were; Dr. Adewopo, the Director General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission(NCC), Mr. Ernest Ndukwe, Vice-chairman, the Nigerian Communications Commission, Ben Murray Bruce of the media diverse Silverbird Group. Others were, Afolabi Adesanya, Director General, Nigerian Film Corporation, Ego Boyo, Tunde Kilani, and WIPO representative, Ms. Donna Ghelf.

Also, film experts, Mrs. Andrea Calderwood (UK), producer of Oscar winning film Last King of Scotland, Rob Ezra Doner (US) experienced Hollywood lawyer and financier, member of the Board of Directors of the American Film Marketing Association shared their views on producing commercially successful African feature films which also touch on social, economic and political issues.

Pulitzer prize winning Journalist, Dele Olojede, celebrated Nigerian Finance and Management expert, Professor Pat Utomi, the Director General of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Engr. Ernest Ndukwe, award winning Nigerian film maker, Mr. Tunde Kelani, celebrated entertainment entrepreneur and Mr. Toyin Subair of HITv were all in attendance to give their expertise opinion on how to tackle the problem of piracy in Nigeria.

The workshop focused on how the private and public sectors could boost Nigeria's economy through copyright protection and structured investment in the entertainment industry.

The sessions also, focused on content development and how Nigeria's internationally celebrated musicians, writers, performing artists, photographers, designers and other industry practitioners could contribute meaningfully to making Nigerian film the best in the world.

The conference, supported by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Nigerian Copyright Commission, was designed to provide a framework for structured financing of the Nigerian entertainment industry by looking at case studies of international entertainment financing deals, principles, pitfalls and potentials, in addition to creating in-depth, practical information on intellectual property rights.

These include chain of basics, establishing ownership, business and legal distribution guidelines, sales and international distribution, copyright exploitation, local and international trends, production and distribution contracts, finance paperwork, lawsuits and pitfalls and also, creating a bridge between the film industry and the best of Nigeria's diverse creative talent in the music, literary, performing arts and visual arts.

Nollywood has had a huge impact on African consciousness both on the continent and also in the Diaspora, but the industry is not getting enough support, especially from the private sector" explained Sandra Obiago, the Executive Director of Communicating for Change.

In her remarks, Obiago urged government to recognize that Nigeria's creative industries and Nollywood in particular are the future of the nation's economic stability.

Obiago, said, as a practitioner in the film industry, CFC is challenged by issues of protecting the nation's intellectual property rights, sourcing sustainable funding for the nation's creative projects, and building a strong institution that can survive and thrive in the Nigerian market place.

"If we want to meet the Millennium Development Goal by eradicating poverty, getting girls in to schools, cutting down our horrifically high maternal mortality rates and create lasting wealth, then we must build a strong legal and financial framework within which our creativity can be expressed, protected, and used to create jobs, sustain livelihoods, and showcase our rich culture," she challenged stakeholders at the conference.

We need to put Nigeria on the front burner of international cultural and artistic excellence by using film to showcase the impressive spectrum of our awesome Nigerian art and creativity." She stated.

Also, in her contribution, Donna Ghelfi, Senior Programme Officer with the Creative Industries Division of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), confirmed the UN agency's commitment to working with Nigerians film makers to collect and track data showing the huge, but presently invisible injection of capital from Nigeria's creative industries into the country's economy.

Vanguard (Lagos)13 November 2008