A Port Harcourt based author, Mr. Austin Moris Joe has decried the continued theft of intellectual property across the country and called for the urgent intervention of governments to save the publishing industry.
Mr. Joe who made the call during a chat with The Tide in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital lamented that some of his works were being pirated, saying the development has adversely affected him and his family.
Joe, who is also the Rivers State Chairman of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) said he had about 20 published works to his credit, cutting across the literary genre of prose, drama and poetry.
The author and musician who goes by the stage name ‘Moris Tenor’ narrated his ordeal in the hands of pirates, even as he said that the inability of both federal and state governments to act was the reason the trend had continued unabated.
According to him, “on 29 March, 2018 a man was caught in Lagos State, pirating one of my works, ‘My House Help is Gone’, which I suffered to publish and was also approved by the Lagos State Ministry of Education in 2017.
“The suspect has succeeded in reprinting, floating,distributing and selling copies of the book at a lesser price of N180 per copy in schools across Lagos, as against the recommended price of N350.
“On getting the information, the suspect was arrested and arraigned in the Port Harcourt Magistrate Court 8 where he was charged with piracy, although the matter was later referred to the Federal Department of Public Prosecutions for advice.”
Morris Tenor Joe further said that several persons were arrested pirating and selling copies of his books at cheaper prices just to make quick money.
He urged the federal and state governments not to limit the fight against corruption beyond treasury looters to include those who steal intellectual property in order to save our Nigeria’s publishing industry as well as keep writers’ in business.