By G9ija

The Director-General, Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Mr. John Asein, has called on stakeholders in the book sector to work towards the formulation and adoption of a National Book Policy that would address emerging issues in the sector.

He made the call at a copyrights webinar organised by the NCC as part of the Virtual Nigerian International Book Fair, with the theme: “Information technology as a panacea for the book industry sustainability amid the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Asein noted that the pandemic presented practitioners in the industry with an opportunity to redesign their business models to address new realities.

He urged authors, publishers, printers, booksellers and others in the value chain to leverage Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools to sustain their relevance in the industry.

He said the Commission had harmonised its regulatory and enforcement framework for a balanced, responsive and sustainable copyright ecosystem.

“The Commission will also activate the provisions of the Copyright Act, including the obligation on publishers, printers, producers and manufacturers of copyright works to keep a register of works. Our primary objective is to provide a more congenial business environment for copyright business, check book piracy and promote effective management and enforcement of rights”, he added.

He assured that the Commission would partner the Nigeria Association of the Blind to follow-up on its collaboration with the Accessible Book Consortium (ABC) of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) on the training of publishers and braille production centres to promote the production of school books in accessible formats.

Speaking on the “Challenges of copyright enforcement in the digital environment”, the Commission’s Director of Enforcement, Mr. Obi Ezeilo, identified outdated laws, need to collaborate with various agencies responsible for aspects of online dealings, among others as some of the problems militating against effective enforcement of copyright online.

Other resource persons at the webinar were the Deputy Director, Regulatory Department, NCC, Mrs. Susan Bashorun, and Mr. Kunle Olatunji.