January 3, 2017 — The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, before Honourable Justice I.N. Buba, has convicted one Mr. Chimezie Chike, on a two-count charge of literary piracy.
The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) had filed the case against the accused on May 20, 2015 following his arrest on September 12, 2014 by enforcement officers of the NCC. Prior to his arrest, NCC enforcement officers raided his bookshop located in Lagos State, and seized several copies of infringing literary works. Some of the affected works included ‘Still Doing the Impossible’ and ‘Ideas Rule the World’, in which
According to the Commission, the accused was found guilty of breaching section 20(2)(a) and section 20(2)(b) of the Copyright Act Cap. C28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, by exposing and offering for sale four infringing copies of literary works and being in possession of four infringing copies of the works other than for private use.
Justice Buba dismissed the preliminary objection raised by counsel to the Accused, Mr. Charles N. Sunday, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter for failure to observe the provisions of section 25 (1) of the Copyright Act, before the criminal charge was filed. Justice Buba overruled the objection stating that the prosecution is not bound to follow any particular procedure in obtaining evidence in proving its case.
The Court on November 29, 2016 found that the guilt of the accused person was proved beyond reasonable doubt and sentenced him to a fine of Eight Hundred Naira for both charges. During sentencing, the court took into consideration the fact that the Accused was a first time offender and an unemployed graduate at the time of the offense.