Academic journal article International Journal of Cyber Criminology

'We Are Promoters Not Pirates': A Qualitative Analysis of Artistes and Pirates on Music Piracy in Nigeria

Academic journal article International Journal of Cyber Criminology

'We Are Promoters Not Pirates': A Qualitative Analysis of Artistes and Pirates on Music Piracy in Nigeria

Article excerpt


The Nigeria music industry is one of the fastest growing in the world. However, this phenomenal growth is being threatened by the activities of pirates. Music idols (stars) and up-and-coming artistes continue to lament the usurpation of their Intellectual Property (IP) which Piquero (2005) defines as the creative ideas or innovations that result from intellectual activity and creation. Higgins et al. (2008) note that IP piracy remains a challenge to law enforcement and the society. Piracy is greatly affecting markets of information goods, such as business and entertainment software applications, sound recordings, movies, and books. Studies (Rapp & Rozek, 1990; Ronkainen & Guerrero-Cusumano, 2001) have shown that the rates of Intellectual Property theftvary; its preponderance is more alarming in industrializing countries, like Nigeria.

Nigeria is ranked among countries in Africa where piracy is prevalent. It was 82% in 2007, 83% in 2008, 83% in 2009, 82% in 2010 and 82% in 2011 (Business Software Alliance, 2011). According to the report, piracy also blossoms in other African countries, including Zimbabwe (92%), Libya (90%), Algeria (84%), Cameroon (83%), Egypt (61%), Ivory Coast (81%), Kenya (78%), Mauritius (57%), Morocco (66%), Senegal (78%), Tunisia (74%), Zambia (82%); while South Africa (35%) had the least piracy rate (BSA, 2011). In terms of consumption, Nigerians have spent about #90 billion naira ($60 million) in purchasing imitated compact disc, with #81 billion naira ($54 million) lost to piracy and counterfeiting. Of this amount, a paltry #8 billion ($5.3 million) got to copyright owners (Erondu, 2009). This is consistent with Villarroel's (2010) claim that piracy reduces royalties.

The Nigerian Copyrights Commission (NCC) sees illegal exploitation of copyright works as crime. On June 26, 2012, the commission took her Piracy Zero-Tolerance Policy awareness to the Alaba International Market. Speaking with stakeholders at the Market, the Director Public Affairs of the commission, Charles Olisa, captures the problem of piracy at the Alaba International Market this way:

If you know anyone still indulging in this illegal business (Piracy), let us know so that we can pick him up. I know some of you are very honest and we are counting on you to help us in this struggle. People that have been arrested in Kano, Sokoto, Onitsha and other parts of the country would tell us they got pirated products from Alaba and most of you don't give them receipts so that goods purchased would not be traced to where they were bought. Stop buying, producing and marketing pirated goods because everywhere around the world, Alaba has been known to be notorious. You need a good public relations man to turn the image of Alaba around if you have really changed.3

The above confirms that Alaba is reputed as the hub of piracy in Nigeria. According to the Director-General of NCC, Afam Ezekude (2012), the commission had secured 27 piracy convictions as at July, 2012. These consist of 20 convictions for sound recording /optical disc, four software piracy convictions, two book piracy convictions and one broadcast piracy conviction. Also, about 55 cases of copyright infringements instituted by the commission against pirates are still ongoing as at July, 2012.4 These cases reveal that piracy is a serious problem in Nigeria. Owing to their activities, piracy of copyrightprotected works through both physical and electronic media harms the companies that create and sell these products (Siwek, 2007).

While many countries, including Nigeria, have criminalized music piracy, Hinduja (2007) differs on this, arguing that individuals (including actors) may not view music piracy as a crime. Against this background, this paper examines the perspectives of music 'actors' and their perception of piracy at the Alaba International Market, Lagos, Nigeria. It is important to understand the way actors in the music industry define and/or redefine their roles and understanding within the Nigeria music industry. …

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