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Nigerian Copyright Commission v. Obasi Godwin

   Federal High Court

Judgement delivered on Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Citation:55 NIPJD (FHC. 2012) ABJ/CR/16/2012
Suit No. ABJ/CR/16/2012    Jurisdiction: Nigeria

Judgement delivered by Honourable Justice Gladys K. Olotu

Copyright Infringement, Sale and Possession of Local and Foreign Musicals, and Cinematograph Films: The Accused Person was charged to court for the alleged infringement of cinematograph films and musical works.

I. FACTS

The Accused Person was charged by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) for being in possession and for the sale of 400 infringing copies of cinematograph films and musical works in DVDs, VCDs and CD formats in breach of Section 20(2)(a) and (c) of the Nigerian Copyright Act, Cap C28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

Two Counts were charged against the Accused Person.

Count one:  “That you, Obasi Godwin, male, of CD World (Villa) at FHA Junction, by Gado Nasco Road, Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court on or about the 20th day of May, 2011, had in your possession other than for your private or domestic use 400 (Four Hundred) infringing copies of foreign and local works embedded in optical discs such as DVD’s, VCD’s and CD’s, in which copyright subsists in favour of various right owners, without the consent and authorization of the copyright owners and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 20(2)(c) of the Nigerian Copyright Act, CAP. C28, Laws of Federation,  2004.”

Count two:  “That you, Obasi Godwin, male, of  CD World (Villa) at FHA Junction, by Gado Nasco Road, Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court, on or about the 20th day of May, 2011, for the purposes of trade or business, did expose or offer for sale 400 (Four Hundred) infringing copies of foreign and local works embedded in optical discs such as DVD’s, VCD’s and CD’s, in which copyright subsists in favour of various right owners, without the consent and authorization of the copyright owners and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 20(2)(a) of the Nigerian Copyright Act, CAP. C28, Laws of Federation, 2004.

II. SENTENCE

The Federal High Court, Abuja convicted the accused to six months imprisonment on the two-count charge.  Justice Gladys K. Olotu, delivering the judgement on May 30, 2012, also imposed an option of N10,000 fine on each of the two counts, bringing the total to N20,000 fine.  The court ordered that the exhibits, 400 copies of infringing  optical discs, be returned to the Nigerian Copyright Commission for safe custody and for their destruction after 30 days if there is no appeal against the judgement.

“It is hereby ordered:

  1. That the Accused person is sentenced as follows:

(a) Count 1 = N10,000.00 (Ten Thousand Naira fine), or 1 month imprisonment.

(b) Count 2 = N10,000.00 (Ten Thousand Naira fine), or 1 month imprisonment.

Fines are cumulative (i.e. N20,000) but sentences will run concurrently.”

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