Mr Yemi Adebiyi, the Chairman, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Lagos State chapter, on Monday called on the Federal Government to strengthen the laws against piracy.
Adebiyi told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that piracy was damaging and discouraging young writers from taking to writing.
He said that writers were suffering because there were no strict laws protecting their intellectual works.
The ANA chairman said that government must address the plights of writers by setting up endowment fund that would make writing attractive to the upcoming writers.
He said that some members of the association were monitoring some bookshops in Ajegunle, Apapa and Mushin areas of Lagos where pirated books were being sold.
“Writing is no more appreciated; even the publishers that can actually publish peoples’ books are doing so; because once the books are not in the curriculum, they cannot sell.
“The book sellers know people that are giving them pirated books, but they are the one that can help us to catch them, but they do not want to help us.
“They are actually people encouraging the publishing company to supply pirated books to them, “he said.
Adebiyi said that many book sellers were involved in piracy business as they were encouraging printers to reprint books that were captured in the curriculum.
He said that any time the association visited bookshops and discovered pirated books, the owners of the store would not want to disclose where he got the books from, thus making the business to thrive.
Adebiyi, who claimed that one of his books was pirated and 300,000 copies were sold, said that he could only sell 3,000 copies.
“I have my store in the office filled with the books, while the pirates are making money off my intellectual property.
“When the police arrested those pirating my books, they were released 24 hours after, due to lack of a strong law.
“The law against piracy is not strong enough and even when implemented, the pirate will not lose anything.
“The Nigeria Copyright Commission can hardly do anything because it is poorly funded, “he said.
Adebiyi said that government must partner with the National Library of Nigeria to establish one library per local government to help the reading habit.
He urged government at all levels to encourage reading habit among the primary, secondary and tertiary institutions by setting up well equipped libraries.
“Government officials need to go round the country and encourage more reading culture; they must ensure that at least, there is one library in each local government to encourage people to read.
“Writers of either fiction, vocational or academic books will be encouraged to publish their intellectual work, because they are sure it will be available in all the libraries, “he said.
Adebiyi commended Sen. Shehu Sani and others for putting together a bill against piracy at the National Assembly.
He added that when enacted into law, the bill would help writers a lot to reap the fruits of their labour in royalty and sales of books. (NAN)