Some workshop participants on Copyright Protection and Access to Knowledge in Enugu have blamed piracy on ignorance, non-availability and the high cost of books, in Nigeria.
The participants observed that the situation had resulted to students buying pirated copies of books at cheaper rates.
Mr Chinedu Udeh, a law student at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC), said if books were available, piracy would be reduced to a minimal level.
The President of Consumer Awareness Organisation (CAO), Enugu, Prof. Felicia Monye, urged authors to sell their books at affordable rates to enable Nigerians to have easy access to knowledge.
Monye urged the workshop to suggest ways of striking a balance between the legitimate interest of authors and easy access to learning by potential learners.
In a keynote address, the state Commissioner for Local Government Matters, Prof. Frank Asogwa, urged students, lecturers and researchers to always get authorisation before replicating works of authors.
“Some lecturers are in the habit of duplicating works without authorisation. This is absolutely condemnable and should be stopped,’’ the law professor said.
While calling on the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) to carry out a campaign to educate the public on copyright law, Asogwa urged the commission to enforce the law in order to serve as deterrent to others.
In a message to the workshop, the Director-General, Consumer Protection Council, Mrs Ify Umenyi, said the purchase of illegal material by readers hurt authors and made it difficult for them to write more books.
“This is not sustainable in the long run as it will lead to increase in prices for original publications to enable the authors to make up for lost revenues,’’ Umenyi said.
The director-general, who was represented by a director in the council, Mr John Asen, called on all agencies of government, NGOs and public spirited individuals to be involved in the crusade.
The workshop was attended by authors, academics and students.