The pirating of intellectual property has been labelled as one of Nigeria’s biggest challenges by Emmanuel Onyeje, the Nigerian Country Manager for software and technology giant Microsoft. Onyeje said that software piracy has the potential to cause unemployment and reduce the economic gains Nigeria has already made.
“Doing business in Nigeria is challenging because of the high rate of piracy. Piracy is not just a software problem, but an intellectual property problem that cuts across industries like movies, books, music and software. Today Nigeria is rated as number two in movie production after India, but the truth is that several movies are being pirated on a daily basis and if we do not solve the problem of piracy, it will pull down the growth of Nollywood in the country,” Onyeje stressed.
He added that software piracy has the potential to spill over into other sectors. “Software piracy is another area where piracy thrives in the country, and if the trend is not checked, it can run down software businesses in the country and this is applicable to other sectors where piracy is rampant”.
While Microsoft regularly informs its users and the public about piracy and the illegal distribution of software, he said that the software giant does not have any power to enforce copyright laws.
“Microsoft is not a law enforcement agent and cannot implement any form of enforcement,” he said, adding that the Nigerian government should help Microsoft fight piracy through the Nigerian Copyrights Commission (NCC).
According to This Day, “there are millions of PCs and laptops running on pirated software and people sit in their homes and send millions of dangerous malware and virus through pirated software, to attack servers of big organisation and financial institutions.”
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor